Beneficiaries on your retirement account supersede what you have in your will, so it’s good to be in the habit of making sure they’re current as your life circumstances change. You can review beneficiaries when you receive your statement.
Naming beneficiaries for your retirement accounts is an important first step in your estate planning. Without careful consideration, your decision may have unexpected tax and estate planning implications.
There are two basic types of beneficiaries. Primary beneficiaries are entitled to receive any undistributed assets in your account following your death. They share equally in your account unless you specify different percentages. If a beneficiary predeceases you, his or her share of your account is divided proportionately among the surviving beneficiaries.
Contingent beneficiaries are entitled to receive any undistributed assets in your account only if you have no surviving primary beneficiaries at the time of your death. If there are no surviving primary beneficiaries, your contingent beneficiaries share equally in your account unless you specify different percentages.
Consult an attorney or tax advisor if you have questions about your beneficiary designations. And call us at 1-800-279-4030 if you have questions about your retirement account(s).