Question: Is the distribution of all of my assets controlled by my Last Will or Trust when I die?
Answer: No…. Assets pass at death either through your Will, Trust or any of the following:
a. Beneficiary Designation forms for retirement plans (IRAs, 401Ks, etc.), life insurance and annuities; orb. Transfer-on-Death or Payable-on-Death forms for bank accounts, CDs, Savings Bonds or other accounts and, in some cases, real estate.
Although those listed in a and b above are not controlled by your Will or Trust, they should be carefully coordinated with your will or trust, to make sure your wishes are followed. This should all be reviewed with your estate planning attorney.
– Jack N. Alpern, Esq.