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Can Account Beneficiaries Override Your Will?

Oct. 28, 2020

When you’re writing a will in Florida, it might seem safe to assume that your will overrides everything, even the beneficiaries on certain accounts. However, there are situations where account beneficiaries can override your will. Here’s what you need to know about wills and beneficiaries.

When Can Account Beneficiaries Override a Will?

During the estate planning process, you’ll want to review your accounts and make sure they have the correct beneficiary. This is especially important if you’ve filed for divorce and still have your former spouse listed as your beneficiary.

For example, if you die, your retirement fund will go to your named beneficiary. Even if you list something different in your will, the fund will go to whoever you named on the account. However, you can make your will part of your estate by naming your estate as the beneficiary or declining to name a beneficiary to begin with.

Likewise, bank accounts can only be delivered to the person who’s named as the beneficiary. Since these aren’t part of your estate, you’ll have to make sure that your beneficiary is up-to-date and review it if necessary. Otherwise, your bank account savings might go to someone that you divorced or removed from your will.

Who Can Help You with Estate Planning?

If you’re not sure how to navigate the complex process of planning your estate, an attorney might help you get your affairs in order. Your attorney might help you take stock of your assets and write a will that divides up your estate. If you’ve already written a will, your attorney may help you review it and ensure that it’s up to date. Your attorney could also help you with other aspects of estate planning like writing a living will and choosing someone to be your healthcare proxy.