How to Designate a Beneficiary for an Investment Account

Choosing a beneficiary for an account is a critical part of your estate planning. Here are the basics of how to designate a beneficiary for an investment account.

Will Beneficiary

First of all, you need to choose a beneficiary for your will. This is not going to be enough to work for a retirement account or an insurance policy, but it will allow you to designate certain things to your beneficiaries.

TOD Certificate

You should also utilize a TOD certificate. This stands for "transfer on death." When you utilize this type of certificate, the money in your account is going to be transferred to your beneficiary when you pass away.


If you are an investor in government bonds or notes, you should also take the proper precautions to designate a beneficiary for these. In order to do this, you will need to register them and name a beneficiary. This can be done by filling out a simple form. When you die, the ownership of the bonds and notes will pass to your primary beneficiary.

Investment Accounts

With a traditional investment account with a financial institution, you should be able to simply write in the name of a beneficiary on your account paperwork when you open it.

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