Various financial assets defined by federal and state government allow for beneficiary designations and are binding, even when contradicted by the language of a Will. Your estate planning documents will not control how certain IRS pre-defined assets (e.g., currently defined as your bank accounts, life insurance policies and retirement accounts) are to be distributed and to whom. Therefore, it is best practice to work with your estate planning professionals to determine the correct language to use when designating the beneficiaries of these assets, so they are distributed per your wishes and not in an unintended manner. If you don't make designations at all, then the Probate Court will decide how these specific assets will be distributed.

Often there are two types of beneficiaries you can name:
  • Your primary beneficiary is the first beneficiary you want to receive your assets at death.
  • Your contingent beneficiary, or secondary beneficiary, will receive the assets if your primary beneficiary can’t or won’t.
Contact us if you determine with your Estate Planning professional that you need to make or change your beneficiary designations on your accounts at FSBT or Valley Agencies.

This content is intended to be used as a source for general information and is not provided as legal advice.