By Jamie Hopkins
Everyone’s heard the stories of celebrities who died without a proper estate plan in place. It’s been a hot topic in the last few years with Prince and Aretha Franklin serving as unfortunate faces of the phenomenon. But it’s not just freewheeling entertainers. Abraham Lincoln – a lawyer by trade – didn’t have one either, which leads me to say something you’ve probably never heard anyone say: don’t be like Abraham Lincoln.
Most people want to plan for a good life and a good retirement, so why not plan for a good end of life, too? Let’s look at four ways you can refine your estate plan, protect your assets and create a level of control and certainty for your loved ones.
1. Review Beneficiary Designations
Many accounts can pass to heirs and loved ones without having to go through the sometimes costly and time-consuming process of probate. For instance, life insurance contracts, 401(k)s and IRAs can be transferred through beneficiary designations – meaning you determine who you want to inherit your accounts after you die by filing out a beneficiary form. You can often name successors or backup beneficiaries, and even split up accounts by dollar amount or percentages between beneficiaries with these forms.