I don’t know what it is about the first of the year, but it is always hectic. This has certainly been a busy first week of 2010. I have been catching up on my reading and came across a great article in last month’s newsletter from Barrett Easterday Cunningham & Eselgroth LLP, an agriculture law firm located in Dublin, Ohio. Russell Cunningham is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law with the Ohio State Bar Association and wrote a great article about cleaning up your beneficiary designations in 2010. As I have stated in previous blogs, I believe that proper estate planning is extremely important for the agriculture industry and should be at the top of your “To Do” list as we turn the page on another decade.
In his thoughtful article, Mr. Cunningham stressed the importance of revisiting prior owner and beneficiary designations and tying up lose ends. He recommended that folks should start by contacting their financial planner, life insurance agent, banker or any other party that may have ownership or beneficiary records.
To summarize, he listed the following 6 pointers for an “Estate Planning Checkup” in 2010:
1. Make sure that you have a beneficiary and a sucessory benefiary for your life insurance policy;
2. If you have a revocable trust, update beneficiary designations to be the trust;
3. If you have a revocable trust, transfer all assets to the trustee during your lifetime OR create a payable on death (“POD”) and transfer on death (“TOD”) designations to the trustee;
4. Name your spouse as the primary beneficary of any retirement account (or, if you are a single guy or gal, designate a family member of your choice);
5. Name your children or a charity as the contingent beneficiary of the retirement account; and
6. Identify a successor owner for 529 accounts established for college expenses.
"This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. It is recommended that you speak to an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction before relying on the information in this blog."