Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Unintended Effect When Beneficiary Form Beats Will

WillThe children of Leonard Smith learned the hard way that beneficiary forms beat wills. Smith noted on his form that his IRA should be distributed according to his will, which left the funds to his children. Despite Smith’s efforts to care for his children after he was gone, the beneficiary form for his IRA was deemed invalid and the IRA was inherited by his wife of two months rather than his children. Since these types of accounts are intended to avoid probate the will did not affect the form, which Smith probably forgot he had filled out when he got married.

See Jeanie Ahn, Man’s Mistake Cost His Children $400,000 of an IRA Inheritance, Yahoo News, June 17, 2014.

Special thanks to James D. Parker (The Parker Law Firm, PLLC) for bringing this article to my attention.


Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets, Wills | Permalink

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