When we meet with our clients to complete estate planning a common problem we see is that a client's retirement beneficiarys might not match thier will or trust documents. Are the people you wanted to benefit from your hard work your entire life this year the same as they were last year? Life can change quite a bit over time, so it’s important that you’ve got a record of who gets what in case something happens to you. Usually, a will or trust can govern all assets. But an IRA can work differently. In most cases, an IRA investor must complete a form from the custodian, company holding the account, or the third-party administrator, the company who keeps the retirement plan records (also known as a TPA).
This form is the one that matters with an IRA. If you have one beneficiary to your IRA account and a different one on your will and trust, your intended heirs will end up with your estate minus those IRA funds. A simple way to manage this issue is attach a copy of your estate documents to the IRA beneficiary form and write “see attached” instead of a name. The best way to make sure your wishes are followed, though, is to check directly with whomever administers the account for you and confirm the beneficiary on file.