A designated beneficiary is named on a life insurance policy or some type of investment account as the individual(s) who will receive those assets, in the event of the account holder’s death. The beneficiary designation doesn’t replace a signed will but takes precedence over any instructions about these accounts in a will. If the decedent doesn’t have a will, the beneficiary may see a long delay in the probate court.
If you’ve done your estate planning, most likely you’ve spent a fair amount of time on the creation of your will. You’ve discussed the terms with an established estate planning attorney and reviewed the document before signing it.