There is more to estate planning than wills and trusts. Of important significance is the death beneficiaries on life insurance policies, annuities, IRA’s, pension plans, and certificates of deposit, just to name a few. A will that leaves everything to a surviving spouse serves no purpose if the death beneficiary on an IRA is an ex-spouse, a child, or someone important to you at a prior time in life. People often name a beneficiary on their life insurance at work and never again look at it or make a change. It is not unusual to find that when someone dies an ex-spouse is named as death beneficiary on company life insurance or on a 401(k). It is for this reason that at Checkett & Pauly we think of estate planning not just creating documents but guidance and consultation. Be sure to update your beneficiary designations on the birth or death of a child, the death of a prior beneficiary, the death of a spouse, marriage ending in divorce, or at least every three years. Beneficiary designations are inexpensive and easy but often have substantial and unintended consequences to your estate plan.