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Estate Planning

What are account beneficiaries?

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River allows you to name individuals, trusts, or organizations as beneficiaries on your accounts. Designating an account beneficiary or beneficiaries establishes a transfer on death (TOD) registration for your account. You can create a unique plan for every River account you own. This plan can be edited or removed at any time.


A TOD registration allows ownership of the account to be transferred to the designated beneficiary upon your death. Typically, this means that your assets are not subject to probate. However, if there is a complication in your plan, such as an account with a named beneficiary that has passed away, your account may be subject to probate. You may want to revisit your beneficiary designation at events like: marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or updates to relevant laws.


Assigning contingencies to your primary beneficiaries helps ensure a smooth transfer of your assets even if a named beneficiary is unable to claim them. A “per stirpes” contingency specifies that the share designated to an individual is passed to his/her children, in equal portions, if the individual dies before you do. A “per capita” contingency reallocates the share designated to an individual to your other named primary beneficiaries. You can also designate specific contingent beneficiaries to receive your assets if a named primary beneficiary is unable to do so.


If you have an authorized TOD plan when you pass, your beneficiaries will need to contact River to transfer your assets into their names. Once necessary documents are received, a new account will be set up for the beneficiary or estate, so the assets held in your account can be transferred.


A TOD registration can override a will, trust, or other estate plans you have made. The TOD is not a substitute for a comprehensive estate plan and works best when your instructions are simple and direct. You should consult an estate-planning attorney if you are unsure about the implications of your estate planning.


This is not financial, tax, or legal advice but instead provided for education purposes.