Updating Your Beneficiaries: A Form of Aftercare for Your Loved Ones

Have you ever considered what will happen to your loved ones after you have left this earth? It may be uncomfortable to consider, or perhaps you are so busy you have not had a chance to consider it. In either scenario, if you are reading this article, you have time to implement simple steps that will make you feel better about your ability to protect their future.

Updating your beneficiaries is a crucial aspect of financial planning that ensures your assets are distributed according to your wishes upon your passing. In essence, it's a form of aftercare for your loved ones and family.

As they mourn your passing, your loved ones will be in a better place emotionally and financially when they realize that you took care of their needs well before you left this earth.
It's important to regularly update your beneficiaries, especially following major life events such as marriage, divorce, or death of a previous beneficiary. Neglecting this step can lead to unintended consequences, where assets may go to an outdated beneficiary, potentially leading to legal disputes and emotional distress for your loved ones.

Therefore, help your loved ones avoid unnecessary drama. Keep your beneficiary information current and maintain the integrity of your estate plan.

Here are some tips to follow and stick by:

    beneficiary advisor
  1. Keep your beneficiaries in mind after major life events.
    Staying up-to-date on life changes is important. Events like marriage, divorce, the birth of child, and death can alter the people in your life, so it is integral to keep your beneficiaries in mind in case you want to update them. Even if these events haven’t happened yet, it is advisable to plan for them and consider how you might update your beneficiaries when certain events do occur.
  2. Ask for help. Consult with a financial advisor.
    If you are updating your beneficiaries, it might be helpful to use a financial advisor. They can provide you with advice and insight you would otherwise not receive. Updating beneficiaries, especially after major life events, can be confusing and overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to ask for support.
  3. Think about naming a primary beneficiary and a backup beneficiary.
    In the event of unforeseen circumstances, having a beneficiary as backup is important. If something were to happen to your primary beneficiary, choosing a backup beneficiary will lessen potential stress or confusion for your loved ones, so plan ahead.
  4. “I’m contemplating this beneficiary designation thing right now. It’s not an easy decision. I’m looking at various members of my family. If I leave my assets with certain family members, I want to be sure they’re going to do the right thing with my assets after I’m gone.”

    —PBUCC member

  5. Consider the characteristics of your potential beneficiaries.
    Are the loved ones you are considering financially and emotionally ready to become your beneficiary? Think about it. If not, you may want to re-evaluate your choices. You deserve to feel safe and comfortable with the beneficiaries you choose.
  6. Take action to help your beneficiaries
    If you update a beneficiary to someone who might need extra help with managing the assets, take this into consideration. For example, if your intended beneficiary is not great at managing money, you can establish a trust so that the assets are managed on their behalf. If your intended beneficiary is a minor, consider choosing a guardian who can manage the assets until the minor reaches a certain age.
  7. Consider choosing a charity as a beneficiary
    Maybe you’re updating your beneficiaries and realize you don’t want your assets to go to a specific person. In this case, it may be worth it to consider designating a charity of your choice as a beneficiary. Research charities and choose one that you are passionate about. Consider the Christmas Fund for the Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund as an option to help active, lay, or retired ministers in their time of need.

Take action today. Update your beneficiaries by logging into Netbenefits® > Profile > Beneficiaries. You can also call 1.800.642.6543 to request a paper form, if needed.

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