Will the wrong people inherit your money?

When you purchased a life insurance policy or annuity, or set up a medical savings account, an IRA, a 401(k), or another type of retirement plan, you filled out a beneficiary form. The beneficiary you named for each of these assets will inherit it when you die, regardless of what your will says.

Do you remember who your beneficiaries are? Are they the same people you want today?

Check it out before it's too late! If you can't find your current insurance or annuity beneficiary forms, first look in your policy; many companies staple a copy inside. For a medical savings account or retirement plan, look over the papers you received when you set up the plan; the beneficiary designation could be a separate form or simply a section within a longer form.

If you can't find a beneficiary form, or if you want to change your beneficiary, contact your insurance company, your employer, or the financial institution that administers your retirement plan. After you've updated your beneficiaries, keep a copy of each beneficiary form with your other insurance, annuity and retirement papers.