my husband & I do not have a will. we have each other listed as primary beneficiary & our two children listed as contingent on our life policies & retirement accounts. What would we need to do to have a tertiary person or persons listed on our life insurance & retirement policies so if by slim chance something were to happen to all of us, we could have someone (POA or Beneficiary) take care of our finances and receive our savings, etc.?
Would a will take care of this?
2 Answers from Attorneys
How your retirement accounts and your life insurance would be paid out in the event of your death is governed by the contracts with the retirement plan custodians and the life insurance companies. If your children are minors, in the unlikely but possible event you both died, there would have to be a court proceeding to manage their resources until they attained legal age. Writing a will gives you an opportunity to name the individuals you would want to care for your children in the event both of you predeceased them and they were still minors. An attorney in your locale can answer these questions and give you strategies to ensure you have the possibilities effectively covered.
It certainly sounds like an attorney-drafted estate plan is in order. Putting the pieces in place with a will or trust would then allow you to have the the proceeds from your insurance policies and retirement accounts paid through your plan or, alternatively, your attorney can assist you with appropriate beneficiary designations that would best address your circumstances.