Are their beneficiary designations up-to-date?
When your parent purchased a life insurance policy or annuity, or set up a medical savings account, an IRA, a 401(k), another type of retirement plan, or some long-term care policies, they filled out a beneficiary form. The beneficiary they named for each of these assets will inherit it when they die, regardless of what their will says!
Do they remember who their beneficiaries are? Are they the same people they want today?
They should check it out before it’s too late! If they can’t find their current insurance or annuity beneficiary forms, first look in the policy; many companies staple a copy inside. For a medical savings account or retirement plan, look over the papers they received when they set up the plan; the beneficiary designation could be a separate form or simply a section within a longer form.
If they can’t find a beneficiary form, or if they want to change their beneficiary, they need to contact their insurance company, their employer, or the financial institution that administers their retirement plan. After they’ve updated their beneficiaries, a copy of each beneficiary form should be kept with their other insurance, annuity and retirement papers.