Does a listed beneficiary of an IRA take precedence over the beneficiaries of a Will?

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Does a listed beneficiary of an IRA take precedence over the beneficiaries of a Will?

My mother recently passed. She had an IRA account. My stepfather says it is a 401k and by law it goes to him. My mother had a Will that stipulates her husband and she entered into a prenuptial agreement and her husband has waived the right to inherit from her. Does this go to him or to her children?

Asked on August 23, 2016 under Estate Planning, Nebraska

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Some assets pass outside of an estate. This means that the listed beneficiary takes the asset over outright; no probate is required. And the proceeds of a 401k are such an asset. Accordingly, since your stepfather  is named on the 401k, it goes to him; the benficiaries of your mother's estate can make no claim on it.


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