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Should you change your designated beneficiaries?

During the estate planning process, you will make a variety of decisions in regards to the future. This includes naming beneficiaries. While this may be cut and dry when creating an estate plan, things can change in the future. If this happens, it is your responsibility to review your situation and ensure that everything is in order.

Some of the most common reasons for changing designated beneficiaries include:

-- The birth of your first or another child.

-- Divorce.

-- Marriage.

-- A death in the family.

-- Your designated beneficiary dies.

-- Moving from one state or country to another.

-- A minor beneficiary reaches the age of 18.

There are definitely times when it makes sense to change your designated beneficiaries. For instance, if you go through a divorce, you may no longer want to leave your assets to your former spouse. Instead, you need to change your beneficiary information without delay. If you don't, this person will receive the designated assets in the event of your death.

Even if you don't have any intentions on changing your designated beneficiaries, it is a good idea to check this information on a regular basis. If you think it has changed for any reason, no matter what it may be, don't hesitate to learn more. This may lead you to make a change in the near future.

Some people are able to set their designated beneficiaries and leave it like this until the day they pass on. Others, however, have to make a change at least once -- if not more.

Source: Protective Life Corporation, "Estate Planning Basics: The Importance of Updating Your Beneficiaries," accessed Sep. 09, 2015

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