In estate planning, sometimes small mistakes lead to harsh consequences. For example, consider beneficiary forms. These simple, preprinted forms can dictate the passing of large sums of money from IRAs and life insurance policies to individuals (often heirs) or organizations. It’s easy to complete these forms and, over time, forget about them. Seldom do IRA sponsors or life insurance companies remind you who you named as a beneficiary 20 years ago. In the meantime, death, divorce, marriage, the birth of a child or a myriad of other circumstances could combine to make existing beneficiary forms a problem or a tragedy.
After someone dies, if the “wrong” person is named as beneficiary, getting the named beneficiary to “do the right thing” is often expensive, always frustrating and usually unsuccessful. So, the next time you get a statement from a life insurance company, an IRA sponsor, your 401(k) plan, bank account or brokerage account that is payable on death, write to them and ask them to confirm the name of the primary and secondary beneficiaries. You might be surprised! If you are, change the beneficiary designation to a person or organization more acceptable to you.
And while you are updating your beneficiary designations, you might think of adding a small gift to the Zoological Society of Milwaukee, proving the old adage that good things do come in small packages.
To learn how you can support the Milwaukee County Zoo through a beneficiary designation or another planned gift to the Zoological Society of Milwaukee, contact Candy Walton at 414-918-6151 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit zoosociety.planmylegacy.org.