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Spring Cleaning for Your Account Information

By Ken Vander Kooi, CFP®April 26, 2019Investing

As tax day has come and gone and we rush headlong into spring it is a good time to quickly review the settings on your accounts to ensure everything is up to date. Below are a few items which may warrant your attention and/or updates:

Trusted contact: In part due to FINRA rule changes, Schwab and other custodians now offer forms for taxable and retirement accounts to list a “trusted contact” for your accounts. This trusted contact is someone who can be contacted by the custodian regarding your accounts should something happen to you. The trusted contact will NOT be able to view your account information, execute transactions or inquire about account activity. You do not need to designate a trusted contact for each Schwab account you have; a single designation will cover all of your accounts. Should you wish to update or change your trusted contact, you would simply need to complete a new trusted contact form.

Beneficiaries: It is good to review the stated beneficiaries and secondary beneficiaries on your tax deferred (retirement) accounts. Perhaps nothing has changed since the last review, however you may find that there are outdated names or percentages listed, or perhaps you never got around to adding a secondary beneficiary (in case your primary beneficiaries pre-decease you). Updating these items is a fairly simple process, typically involving completing a form for the brokerage firm where your account is located. Information needed to complete this type of beneficiary update typically includes the names, contact information and Social Security numbers of the individuals you name as either primary or secondary beneficiaries.

Account titles: In addition to reviewing the beneficiaries for your tax deferred accounts, it is a good idea to double check the current titles and contact information on your taxable accounts. Perhaps there is still an old address or cell phone number attached to your account. Also if you have a trust, check to ensure that your brokerage accounts reflect that trust title if appropriate.

If you have any questions or would like to review the current information on your Scharf managed account, please let us know.

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