Why should I name beneficiaries?

 A financial advisor speaks with a young couple in her office, going over documents about beneficiaries.

Taking the time to really think about your options is one of the most important steps you can take when it comes to planning your estate. One of the easiest ways to make sure your assets go to the people you intend is to list them as beneficiaries.

If you choose to add a beneficiary designation on your account, you'll need to decide whom you want to name. Your financial advisor can work with you and your estate planning attorney to review your accounts and identify your options. That way, you'll have a coordinated strategy to help make sure your beneficiary designations align with your overall estate strategy.

Why name beneficiaries?

Benefits of using a beneficiary designation:

  • Easy to establish
  • Generally inexpensive
  • Ability to change during your lifetime
  • Can avoid probate

Where to begin

Start by thinking about your current accounts. If you can name a beneficiary on a specific account, have you already? Retirement accountslife insurance policies and annuities typically allow you to assign beneficiaries.

Brokerage accounts don't automatically include beneficiary designations, but you can complete a Transfer on Death agreement to identify the person to whom the assets should go.

Review regularly

Review your beneficiaries anytime something major happens in your life – for example, when you marry, divorce or have a child. If you don't review your beneficiaries, your assets could be inherited by someone you no longer intend. In addition to a primary beneficiary, it's important to name a contingent beneficiary who would receive the assets if the primary beneficiary is unable.

How we can help

Whether you need to name a beneficiary or would like to review your current designations, contact an Edward Jones financial advisor today to begin this important process.

Important information:

Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors are not estate planners and cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your estate-planning attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation.