Beneficiary Designations are critical to your Estate Plan but are often overlooked. Much of a person’s wealth can be held as retirement plans, annuities, life insurance policies and other asset types which are held in the individual’s own name and pass by beneficiary designation, not via a will or trust. A beneficiary designation bypasses the probate and trust administration process. Checking that all of your beneficiary designations are current, and include back-up beneficiaries in case your first-choice does not survive you. Unfortunately, failing to maintain updated beneficiary designations can result in substantial sums passing to your probate estate with negative tax consequences.