There are a number of assets you may have that, upon your death, will pass to your heirs pursuant to your beneficiary designations rather than the terms of your will or your other estate planning documents. A beneficiary designation is simply an account-holder’s way to legally state who will inherit certain assets that will pass outside the account-holder’s estate upon death. For example, your IRA will pass to the person(s) you listed as your primary beneficiary in the account paperwork you completed when you opened (or updated) this IRA account. If your primary beneficiary predeceases you, then, your IRA will pass to the person(s) you listed as your contingent beneficiary.
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