Beneficiary Designations: Easy (but imperfect) Planning Tools

What is a beneficiary designation? Essentially, it’s a way to transfer certain assets to specific people upon your death without those assets having to go through probate. Most people are familiar with this concept in the form of life insurance (i.e., when the insured party dies, the beneficiaries get a payout). However, there are a number of other valuable assets besides insurance that can be transferred using the same basic concept. Keep in mind that these designations do have drawbacks and limitations (some of which are discussed below), but they can certainly be helpful for basic, short-term planning. Here’s how these designations work: you (as the owner of the asset) name someone as the

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