Beneficiary Forms: An important piece of Estate Planning

Beneficiary forms – transfer on death designations (TOD), pay on death designations (POD), or just “beneficiary” forms in general – are all helpful tools when putting an estate plan in place. When you pass, how and when you assets will transfer will be controlled by how the asset is titled, if there is a named beneficiary and what your estate documents state. Estate planning does not only consist of estate documents (wills, trusts, power of attorney, as well as other documents as your family and wishes dictate) but using other tools, such as beneficiary forms to make sure your assets transfer how you would like them to once you pass.

It is important to put an estate plan in place (or when reviewing your current plan) that takes both sides into account.  If your estate documents are in conflict with your beneficiary forms – issues will arise as to who, when and where those assets will go.

We view the primary goal of an estate plan as expressing a clear outline as to who, when and where assets will go so as to make things as easy as possible for your loved ones once you pass – and as such, that includes making sure your beneficiary forms are in line with your estate plan.  We can not express how important it is to a smooth estate process to make sure both sides are in agreement.

If you have questions regarding your estate plan or how (or if) your beneficiary forms are in line with your wishes, we would like to help.  Please contact us at (804) 423.1382 or email at to set up a consultation with our attorneys.