What is a beneficiary?
The beneficiary or beneficiaries you name for your Ameriprise Financial accounts are the people or entities you'd like your assets to go to when you die.
What is a beneficiary designation?
A beneficiary designation on an Ameriprise Financial account describes how your assets will be distributed upon your death. To be sure your intentions are clear, your beneficiary designation should be clearly written to make sure it is legally binding.
Who should I name as my beneficiary?
Deciding who or what you want your beneficiary to be depends on your personal financial situation. Some people designate their children as beneficiaries while others designate a charity or other entity. If you are unsure who you want as your beneficiary and are looking for more direction, consider talking with a tax professional, an attorney or an estate planner.
What is the difference between a Primary and Secondary Beneficiary?
The Primary Beneficiary is the first person or entity you want to receive the proceeds of your accounts. There can be more than one primary beneficiary.
Primary Beneficiary: 50% to John Doe, son and 50% to Jane Doe, daughter.
The secondary beneficiary is the second person or entity you want to receive the proceeds of your accounts should the primary be deceased or not meet specific serviceable qualifications you have instructed. There can be more than one secondary beneficiary just as the example above appears.
I have a last will and testament so why would I need a beneficiary for my Ameriprise Financial® Accounts?
A beneficiary designation on applicable Ameriprise Financial accounts is a substitute to a last will and testament. Naming a beneficiary designation allows you the opportunity to instruct direct distribution and avoid the probate costs associated with a will or your estate. In most cases, not naming a beneficiary means that the proceeds of your accounts will be paid to the estate and be subject to probate costs. In other cases, a surviving spouse may be the default beneficiary. If you are not sure, review your original contract to find out who the default beneficiary is for the kind of ownership and account you have. Otherwise, submit a beneficiary designation to ensure your intentions are met. Consult with an attorney as to the rights that certain people may have in property which takes priority over the rights of named beneficiaries.
How often should I review my beneficiary designations?
Life events such as marriage, birth of a child, starting your own business, a divorce or a death, are some examples of reasons to review your beneficiary designation and see if your objective has changed. Your designation should be reviewed periodically and shared with anyone assisting you in estate planning to ensure that it coordinates with your will and/or trust.