Open Enrollment: Keep These Estate Planning Considerations in Mind

Gabriel Katzner - April 12, 2019 - Estate Planning
San Diego Estate Planning Attorney

Between late October and early November, employers typically send out summaries of the benefit plans offered by the company, so employees can change or update these benefits during the open enrollment period. Employees use this window of opportunity to adjust their retirement plans, health, dental, vision, disability and life insurance coverage. Whether your employer pays the premiums, splits them with you, or requires you to pay them yourself, you’ll want to keep a few considerations in mind as the open enrollment period begins.

Understand your Benefits

Your employer may offer any of a variety of retirement plan options, including a 401(k), 403(b), or 457 plan. And depending on your chosen plan structure, you’ll need to think about the income you choose to contribute. How much will you put into your plan this year? Will you contribute pre-tax, after tax, or to a Roth plan? The answer will depend on your financial needs and circumstances, which may have changed since the year before. Be sure to factor in any matching contributions your employer will make, since these matches can boost your lifelong retirement savings.

As far as healthcare is concerned, your employer may offer the option to enroll in a Health Savings Account (HSA), or they may just provide standard forms of healthcare, vision and dental coverage. If consider enrolling in an HAS, recognize that this option will allow you to set aside your own funds, tax free, for any healthcare costs that may arise this year.

If your employer provides life and disability insurance options, your beneficiaries will receive the amount of money stated in your plan if you die or become disabled and can no longer work. This coverage usually expires when you leave your current employer, but if you plan to stay, you’ll need to make sure your coverage determinations are accurate.

As you look over your options during the open enrollment period, make sure you understand every detail of the terms and coverage available to you. If you don’t, contact your HR department right away and get your questions answered. Don’t wait!

Beneficiary Designations

You may also need to change or update your beneficiary designations. In the past year, have you married, divorced, had a child, or decided for any reason to change your designations? Maybe you have new nieces or nephews, have remarried, or are making plans to marry during the upcoming year. Both primary and secondary beneficiaries will need a review.

This decision can impact life insurance policies, retirement accounts, health savings accounts, and disability insurance.

If the insurance company that offers your employer-sponsored benefits has changed, look closely; your beneficiaries may not have carried over. Review your document carefully, even if you aren’t planning to change your beneficiaries.

Estate Planning

 Let us help you prepare a benefit plan that helps you and your family meet your goals. We’ll help you update your beneficiaries and make sure your plan provides adequate coverage that reflects your circumstances. If you do decide to make changes, you’ll want to obtain written confirmation from your HR department and share this information with us so we can ensure the changes are reflected in your estate plan. We’re always available to help with this process. Contact us if you have any questions.

You can use the link below to schedule a call with Gabriel Katzner, or just call us at 855.528.9637 to learn more about how best to plan today to protect those most important to you:




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