When you started your job you probably filled out some paperwork to sign up for the company benefits plan. You likely chose a beneficiary at the time. Got an RRSP? You probably picked a beneficiary when you made your first contribution. Life insurance? Yup, you picked a beneficiary.
There’s a good chance you did all these things at different times. Which means there’s a chance you may have chosen different people over the years. In your younger years, its possible you listed your parents. When you got married you probably listed your spouse. And if you’ve had children it’s probable you’ve listed some of them as contingent beneficiaries on certain accounts.
If you don’t make a point of reviewing and updating your beneficiaries on a regular basis you might be very disappointed to know how your estate will actually be handled.
Imagine the conflict you might accidentally create within your family when your youngest child realizes she got left out of part of the inheritance? Imagine the heartache for your spouse when your ex gets your life insurance? Imagine the disappointment for your kids when they accidentally get cut out of their inheritance because you remarried?
This kind of thing happens all the time.
Don’t let it happen to you.
Download our Beneficiary Review Worksheet and follow these simple steps to get started.
- Using the Red Seal Financial Beneficiary Review Worksheet create a simple inventory of all your investment accounts and insurance policies.
- Once you’ve made a master list dig up the policy documents & account statements you have on file. If you can find the contact information for the financial institution or insurance company log it on the worksheet. If you can’t, turn to the internet to look for the information.
- Contact the financial institution or your insurance broker and get the name(s) of the listed beneficiaries and log them on the same inventory worksheet.
- Are they correct? Is the list of contingent beneficiaries complete?
- If not, use the contact information you logged above to contact the institutions to request a change of beneficiary form.
- Complete the form and submit it.
- Confirm receipt. Email or faxing in a beneficiary change form is only half a step. Confirming receipt of the request to ensure it is processed is important. You’re not going to be around to explain that you tried. Administrative slip ups happen so make sure you confirm that the changes are processed.
- Lastly, set up a process to ensure you review your beneficiaries regularly. Life happens. Things change. Set an annual recurring appointment in your calendar to remind yourself to do a beneficiary review.