If you haven’t received a letter or email from the company in control of your retirement account and/or 401(k) account, you may soon. John Oliver’s HBO show (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver) did a recent spotlight on fees related to managers of retirement accounts, resulting in follow-up articles from other media sources like TIME, Forbes, and CNBC. Many in the industry have been quick to respond with updated fee disclosures and policies, hopefully leading to people getting in contact with their company to review their policy agreements and updating their accounts.
As you wander into the local branch or log back into your retirement accounts to check how your policy is charging you, remember to keep your “Designated Beneficiary” sections filled out. This is a quick task that should be available for you through your retirement account company’s branch or website. Leaving your account without a beneficiary means it gets left in your Probate Estate, potentially costing your heirs thousands in legal and administrative fees. While it is good to keep things updating, it is also important to be careful. If you previously did some estate planning work with an attorney, updating the beneficiary on the account may undo some of what was done by the attorney.