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Does a mutual fund beneficiary supersede a will?

New York, NY |

My offspring is the beneficiary of my mutual fund portfolio. I have a will that is 15 yrs old, but needs to be updated. If I passed away, would the mutual fund beneficiary supersede the will?

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Attorney answers 5



Simply put, get the will updated yet this week.


If there is a named beneficiary to a mutual fund (or any asset for that
manner) the asset is a "non probate" asset and will not be governed by the
Will. The mutual fund, upon death, will pass to the named beneficiary.
Nonetheless, you should have your Will reviewed since it has been 15 years
since you executed it.


Yes, but you should still update your will.

This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website:


100% correct. Beneficiary designations, and account ownerships, Trump the terms of a last will and testament. Essentially, a beneficiary designation is a contract with the financial institution to deliver the funds as stated in the beneficiary designation form.
The fact that you are also updating your Will is a good thing. It should be reviewed every few years as much in life changes. For readers of this question, attached is a link with 5 good reasons to review an existing Will.


As long as the paperwork on the Mutual Fund was properly executed, you'd be surprised what happens sometimes, your offspring would inherit the proceeds from the mutual fund directly as beneficiaries upon issuance of a death certificate. I hope this answers your question.