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The Short Answer

How to Handle Beneficiary Designations

Tips for ensuring your assets flow to the right people.

Note: This article is part of Morningstar's October 2014 5 Keys to Retirement Investing special report. An earlier version appeared Oct. 1, 2009.

The decision about how to designate beneficiaries for your company retirement plan, life insurance policies, and other assets might seem like a no-brainer. Chances are you would like those near and dear to you to inherit any money you've accumulated during your lifetime, so making sure that happens should be as simple as writing their names on the appropriate forms, right?