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Review Your Beneficiaries (and Not Just So They Don't Forget About Their Dear Sis)
Even if you aren't planning on leaving a private island to your family upon your death, you probably have a 401(k), IRA or life insurance policy —and if you haven't designated beneficiaries, you can quickly lose a chunk of the money. (Probate costs—which your beneficiaries will incur if you haven't named them on your retirement and bank accounts—vary, but the average is around $2,000.) According to the Financial Planning Association, a beneficiary trumps a will; so, for instance, if your sister is named in your will but your ex-spouse is the beneficiary on your 401(k), your sis could get your apartment, but your ex will get your retirement funds. Von Tobel knows this isn't something that's at the top of her siblings' lists of things to do, though. Here's one way to make sure it gets done: Set a calendar reminder to review your beneficiaries once a year (New Year's Day is one idea; you're planning for the year ahead and probably just took a mental inventory of who belongs on your naughty and nice lists). The process is actually quite painless; here's how to do it.

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