Certain assets pass outside of your will to those named as beneficiaries on the asset. Examples include life insurance, annuities, joint accounts, IRAs and 401(k)s.
It’s important to make sure that your beneficiaries are current. You can name primary beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries who would receive the asset if your primary beneficiary passed away before you. For retirement accounts, it’s especially important to name beneficiaries to maximize the tax deferral benefits of these retirement accounts.