Together Credit Union – Check Your Beneficiaries

December 18, 2019


Tis’ the Season. The season of planning gatherings and giving gifts. But also, the season of keeping your finances in check. So, at this time of year, I gift myself peace of mind by taking time to Check My Beneficiaries.

What are beneficiaries?

Beneficiary designations give an easy transfer of account ownership or insurance benefits when a person dies. These designations are usually referred to as POD and TOD (Payable on Death and Transferable on Death).

When opening a new bank account (checking or savings), or beginning a new job it can be difficult to check all boxes. Most folks tend to complete these designations without giving it much thought. But beneficiary designations are important and worth the consideration. These designations take precedence over what is specified in your will or your trust. For example, if your will says your favorite KTRS talk show host should receive your IRA, but the account’s Beneficiary Form states otherwise, whoever is listed on the form becomes the owner of the account.

Equally as important, if you don’t have a beneficiary, your estate becomes the beneficiary. This means who ends up with ownership of your asset is out of your control.

Quick tips:

  • Update your beneficiaries with any and all life events. For example: marriage, divorce, having a child, adopting a child, or if a current beneficiary passes away or becomes disabled.

  • Always check the spelling of your beneficiaries
  • Get copies of your beneficiary designation forms and create a list of your accounts and their respective beneficiaries. This will make your review next year at this time quick and easy!
  • If in doubt, complete a new form. And remember, once filed, your beneficiary designation will remain in effect unless you submit an updated form.

How to get started?

Contact the credit unions, banks, and financial institutions at which you have accounts. You will also want to contact any investment firms with which you have accounts as well as insurance companies through which you may have life insurance. Finally, check in with your employer’s HR team to review any beneficiary designations you may have associated with benefits you receive and retirement accounts to which you contribute.

What information will you need?

To complete a beneficiary designation you typically will provide the beneficiary’s name, relationship to you, Social Security Number, and contact information.

For more Money Matters hints and tips, visit the credit union online at

Pier Alsup, Chief Community Engagement Officer, Together Credit Union


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