Does a beneficiary designation override the terms of a Will?

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Does a beneficiary designation override the terms of a Will?

My sister passed away and made me the beniiciaryf of her 401k and life insurance and her work sent me the paper work to claim these thing. She had a hand written Will that also said she wanted the 401k and the life insurance to be part of the estate.

Asked on February 21, 2012 under Estate Planning, Washington

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country, if your sister named you as the beneficiary under her 401 k plan and life insurance policy this designation controls regardless of what her handwritten Will states.

The reason is that a Will speaks at death and the designation of you as the beneficiary under the life insurance policy and 401 k plan was done prior to her passing.


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