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Now, where was I … oh, yeah, estate planning

11/20/2014 | Kaplin Stewart Blog

We cannot think of a single person we know who is perfectly calm at the holidays. Look around, wander through Center City and watch how people move. We wager they all have a lot on their minds and are feeling pressured to get everything done in time. Busy lives get a little frantic this time of year. It’s the joy of the season.

When you think about it, then, the holidays may not be the best time to sit down and fill out forms for your estate plan. There are times, though, when it just needs to be done. This is the time of year, for example, that employers decide to fling wide the doors of benefits enrollment. And, while many believe that just means health and dental insurance, open enrollment often includes looking at 401(k) contributions.

Any time you review your 401(k) contributions and investment options, you should really take a look at all of your other retirement accounts. They are all part and parcel of your estate plan, after all. It is never a bad idea to look them over in aggregate to make sure you are prepared for your retirement and to make sure your assets will go to the right people when you pass away.

As you are updating your IRA beneficiary form, you may want to keep a few things in mind. You may be busy preparing for your in-laws to visit; you may be keeping an eye on flight delays while you wait for your kids to come home from college. Some mistakes are so easy to avoid.

But look at the time! We need to get going, but we will go through the tips in our next post.

Source:, “5 IRA beneficiary form mistakes to avoid,” Shelly K. Schwartz, accessed Nov. 20, 2014