2 New Year’s Resolutions That Are Easy to Keep
Start your new year off with a sense of accomplishment and give yourself and your family tremendous peace of mind by doing the following:
1. Review Your Beneficiary Designation Forms. IRAs, 401Ks, life insurance policies and even brokerage and checking accounts all transfer at your death through a beneficiary designation or “pay on death” form. Often these forms are completed at the time the account is created and are never updated despite the passage of years and changes in our circumstances.
Review each of your beneficiary designation forms and make sure the loved ones and charities you designated are correct, or make changes as needed. If you are including charitable giving as part of your legacy, it may make sense to consider designating NIF (or other charities) as beneficiaries, and leaving less heavily taxed assets to loved ones. Distributions from your retirement fund directly to NIF pass tax free; the same distribution to a loved one may be subject to both income and estate tax. Here is a description of the advantages to you of such a gift and our correct legal name and tax identification number.
2. Don’t Forget Your Online “Estate”. In the 21st century, much of our lives are transacted online. But without log-in information, survivors must go to court for legal authority to gain account access. The process varies from state to state and may not always require a lawyer but almost always takes time.
And the problem isn't just limited to financial accounts. Don't forget about e-mail, photos stored on-line, and social networking sites, including any blogs you may pen.
Letting a trusted family member know that you keep a list of user names and passwords with an attorney or in a safe-deposit box is an important additional tool to consider.