Once you have finalized and signed your Will, it is essential that you change your beneficiary designations to correspond with the way your Will disposes of your assets. Otherwise, those assets will not be distributed in the manner specified by your Will.
For example, if a deceased person owns investment accounts and named his child as the beneficiary, that investment account would pass to the child automatically when he dies regardless of what his Will says.
Or, if spouses own their property as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, the deceased’s one-half interest would pass automatically to the surviving spouse upon his death, regardless of what his Will says.
These types of assets are said to “pass outside the will” and pass pursuant to contract law.
An attorney can provide you with details regarding how to designate your beneficiaries to ensure that your full estate is distributed according to your wishes.