Massachusetts residents who engage in estate planning often feel that their job is done once they sign on the dotted line. However, having a will and/or a revocable trust is not enough to ensure that the assets will end up with the proper heir or beneficiary. The property needs to be properly titled and beneficiary designations on other accounts need to be in line with the rest of the estate plan.
Retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and IRAs, require that a beneficiary be designated when they are opened. Regardless of what a will or trust might say, those accounts will be distributed to the person designated. Other accounts, such as bank accounts, could have payable on death (POD) or transfer on death (TOD) designations. Therefore, they need to be reviewed periodically or whenever a change is made to the remainder of the estate plan to ensure that the funds are still going to the intended person.