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Beneficiary Designations in Retirement Accounts: Protecting a Lifetime of Savings

April 14, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Other than a personal residence, the largest single asset class consists of financial assets. These accounts may be 401(k)s or IRAs, annuity or insurance contracts, or a variety of brokerage or bank accounts. The crucial planning aspect of these types of accounts or contracts is that they can be transferred through beneficiary designations. Though a seemingly simple expedient, beneficiary designations vary among types of accounts and each comes with its own nuances – and traps, which can lead to severely adverse tax and practical outcomes.  This program will provide you with a real-world guide to understanding, reviewing, and drafting beneficiary designations in trust and estate planning.

Handout Materials will be emailed to you prior to the seminar
1.0 MCLE Credit Hour


  • How beneficiary designations vary depending on the type of custodial account involved
  • Differences among retirement accounts, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, life insurance policies
  • How designations differ depending on the type of beneficiary – individual, institutional, trust, etc.
  • “Payable on Death” agreements for bank accounts
  • Practical guidance on how designations are made & common drafting traps


Jeremiah W. Doyle, IV, BNY Mellon Wealth Management, Boston