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. So, it is best practice to assign your beneficiaries to these assets and review your beneficiary designations on these assets periodically to ensure they are set up as allowed by tax law and per your wishes, rather than Probate Court deciding who the heirs will be and how your assets and personal property 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.

Beneficiaries can be a:
  • Designated family member or friend
  • Designated trust in your will
  • Designated charity or nonprofit organization
  • etc.
Talk to a Banker and/or Insurance Agent if you would like to add or change beneficiaries to your FSBT bank accounts or Valley Agencies’ life insurance policies.
This content is intended to be used as a source for general information and is not provided as legal advice.