Beneficiary Designation

By: Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, JD

Many types of accounts and assets, such as an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), insurance policy, even some brokerage accounts, can include a mechanism by which you can state who will inherit that particular account or asset on your death. The document in which you specify who should inherit the account or asset is called a "beneficiary designation" form. Assets that pass on death by beneficiary designation do not (unless the beneficiary designated is your estate) pass through probate. While this permits beneficiary designations to be used to avoid probate, the trusts and other diapositive provisions in your will may be missed because of the beneficiary designations.

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