Occasionally when I am reviewing succession documents prepared by another law office, I see IRA accounts and other retirement accounts listed on the Succession Detailed Descriptive List and Judgment of Possession.
These "nonprobate" items typically do not belong anywhere on the Louisiana succession documents. These items are paid directly to the designated beneficiaries that were listed by the account owner on the Beneficiary Designation form that was completed when the account owner opened the account.
We do, however, have to list these items in the succession when the proceeds of these nonprobate items are payable to the estate. Proceeds are payable to the estate when:
- the owner designated his or her "estate" as the beneficiary;
- the owner did not designate a beneficiary and the account contract requires the proceeds be payable to the estate; or
- one or more designated beneficiaries are deceased and the account contract requires the proceeds to be payable to the estate.
Beneficiary designations must be reviewed my account owners periodically and kept up-to-date. When the typical consumer thinks about estate planning, they usually think first about getting their Last Will or Trust prepared. But in the same thought they should be thinking about updating their beneficiary designations.
Perhaps you are involved in a succession where the estate is the beneficiary of a non-probate item. Then guess what: you need a succession attorney. Contact us either by phone (225-329-2450) or by email at email@example.com, and we'll do our best to resolve these matter for you. Until next time...