Thursday, August 18, 2011
I have previously posted on my other blog Back in the Black Hills, explaining (see this post) why it is necessary for everyone to have a will, and explained some of the topics that are frequently covered in in a will. I also explained that it's important to have an attorney draft that will for you because the attorney should be familiar with state law & can customize your estate planning documents to your needs.
In that post, I didn't cover the topic of non-probate assets. Non-probate assets are things like 401Ks, IRAs, annuities, and insurance policies. These are called non-probate assets because they pass outside of probate court. These assets pass directly to the person listed as beneficiary, or directly to a spouse without a beneficiary designation.
Because of non-probate assets, it is important to review beneficiary designations to determine whether those designations are still appropriate. In addition, it is important to let your estate planning attorney know about these kinds of assets so that the attorney can make recommendations to you, in order to ensure that your estate passes as you would like it to. This post explains in more detail why it is so important.