September is life insurance awareness month. It’s a great time to consult with your insurance professional and determine the amount and type of life coverage that is appropriate given your personal circumstances and planning objectives.

As you work through the process, pay special attention when completing your primary and contingent beneficiary designations. It is critical that they align with your overall estate plan. One misstep can result in negative, unintended consequences. For example, improper or incomplete designations can subject proceeds to the lengthy and costly probate process, result in a higher than anticipated estate tax bill, or risk the eligibility of a child with special needs for public benefit programs.

After naming your beneficiaries, be sure to get written confirmation from the insurance company acknowledging the designations you requested. Also, review your designations on a regular basis and make changes when appropriate. If you have any questions, speak with your estate planning attorney. Don’t leave this important arrangement to chance!

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