Many financial accounts are set up by contracts which establish a beneficiary at death. These contracts trump whatever might be said in a will. Thus, if you establish a life-insurance policy, an investment account with a brokerage house, or a pension fund at work, you will sign a contract which determines who will get the funds in the account when you die. They usually have a second blank for you to name a “secondary” beneficiary should your “primary” beneficiary, i.e., your spouse, dies before you do. Make sure you fill in a secondary beneficiary because if you die without naming a secondary beneficiary, and your primary beneficiary is already dead, then the funds of that account become part of your estate and subject to the probate court (and the laws of intestate succession if you have no will).