When someone dies owning an IRA, one of the most fundamental questions is who was named as beneficiary. Even though many people hire lawyers to prepare wills and trusts they often fail to plan their IRA beneficiary designations. Even worse, many people attempt to prepare their own wills and trusts and not only create probate estate issues but compound the situation further by failing to plan their IRA beneficiary designations. For example, many people assume that naming heirs in a will is sufficient and that there is no need to duplicate those beneficiaries in their IRAs. This is far from the truth. You must have an IRA beneficiary designation to mirror your will beneficiary designation, if that is your intent.