Estate Planning Myths Part Three – Distributions

Hi there. Bridget Mackay of the Law Offices of Bridget Mackay here in Petaluma, California. We practice in the area of estate planning and elder law. In this third series of video blogs on the four lasting myths about estate planning. I want to talk a little bit about the idea or the thought or the myth that is a will can oversee the distribution of all my assets. And, I would add to that, a trust.

You think that you put a will or a trust in place and it’s going to handle the distribution at my death of all my assets or even my incapacity. And that’s simply not true. There are assets that are not in the trust, like life insurance policy, retirement accounts, personal property. Those assets aren’t necessarily handled by a will or a trust.

It’s very important that you stay on top of your beneficiary designation particularly of your life insurance policy or your retirement accounts because when things in your life change, the only way those beneficiary designations are going to change is if you proactively change them. Pull out your 401k’s, your IRAs. Dust them off, talk to the provider of those accounts and find out and stay on top of who your beneficiaries are and who your contingent beneficiaries are. Because those are things that won’t be handled by your will or trust if something were to happen to you.

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