Smart Money: With the current $5 million federal estate tax exemption, you may not be thinking much about estate planning. After all, there’s no way your estate would owe the tax if you happen to die between now and 2013. So no worries, right? Wrong.
In fact, there’s an important estate planning move you should probably make as soon as you finish reading this: check the beneficiary designations for your bank accounts, brokerage firm accounts, tax-favored retirement accounts, company benefit plans, life insurance policies, annuities and 529 college accounts. If you haven’t yet turned in the forms to designate beneficiaries, do it now. If your forms are out of date, change them. It’s amazing how often folks fail to take these simple steps, and the consequences of slacking off can be dire. Need a couple horror stories for motivation? Here you go.