Setting up beneficiaries at Vanguard

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tc101
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Setting up beneficiaries at Vanguard

Post by tc101 »

I have a will but I am leaving most of what I have to my brother and to my girlfriend by setting them up as beneficiaries on my Vanguard accounts. They will be listed as primary beneficiaries.

If my brother dies before me I want the money to go to his children. If my girlfriend dies before me I want the money to go to her children. I will set these up as secondary beneficiaries. All of the children are adults. I have no children of my own.

My question: Is it better to list the individual children, or to just say "John Smith's estate and heirs" in the secondary beneficiary fields?
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bertilak
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Re: Setting up beneficiaries at Vanguard

Post by bertilak »

Use the term "per stirpes," if Vanguard allows it. That means just what I think you are looking for.
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jebmke
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Re: Setting up beneficiaries at Vanguard

Post by jebmke »

Wouldn't this be a good question for the lawyer who prepared your will instead of random internet people?
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ThankYouJack
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Re: Setting up beneficiaries at Vanguard

Post by ThankYouJack »

I would talk to your attorney. Mine was very specific and really emphasized the exact wording for my secondary beneficiary. He said it can often create a big legal mess when it's not set up properly.
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retired@50
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Re: Setting up beneficiaries at Vanguard

Post by retired@50 »

bertilak wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 10:29 am Use the term "per stirpes," if Vanguard allows it. That means just what I think you are looking for.
I think Vanguard will allow this sort of designation.

Some reading material at Vanguard.
https://investor.vanguard.com/investor- ... our-wealth

https://investor.vanguard.com/investor- ... ies-to-ira

Both of the links above use the "per stirpes" term, and the first one even uses "per capita"

Regards,
This is one person's opinion. Nothing more.
miket29
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Re: Setting up beneficiaries at Vanguard

Post by miket29 »

tc101 wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 10:20 am If my brother dies before me I want the money to go to his children. If my girlfriend dies before me I want the money to go to her children. I will set these up as secondary beneficiaries.

My question: Is it better to list the individual children, or to just say "John Smith's estate and heirs" in the secondary beneficiary fields?
What you're planning will not work the way you want.

Vanguard explicitly says
Secondary. Your secondary beneficiary or beneficiaries will inherit your assets only if you have no surviving primary beneficiaries at the time of your death.
https://personal.vanguard.com/us/conten ... omain=true
So if (for example) your brother were to pass before you and you have his children listed as secondary beneficiaries they will get nothing, it will all go to your girlfriend. What Vanguard told me to do when I called them was to list my primary beneficiaries and then add " per stirpes" following their name.
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tc101
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Re: Setting up beneficiaries at Vanguard

Post by tc101 »

I read over the material about per stripes vs per capita. It is complicated in my case, because the Vanguard web site only lets you do "per stripes" for descendants.

I'll call Vanguard Monday to try to get some clarification. If they don't make it totally clear I will then call the lawyer who did the will.

Any more thoughts or information from anyone here would also be appreciated.
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