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Life insurance proceeds payable to a named beneficiary go directly to the named beneficiary and are not subject to any will or living trust agreement. Certain assets pass outside probate and thus are not governed by the will and thus do not require probate. These include the following: i) joint brokerage and bank accounts which vest automatically in the surviving owner upon the death of one owner; ii) real property held as joint tenants or tenants by the entirety, which also vest automatically in the surviving owner upon the death of one owner; and iii) assets with designated beneficiaries other than the estate such as life insurance and retirement accounts. The life insurance proceeds you reference fall within the foregoing.
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