Beneficiary designation is critical to your estate plan especially when naming who gets the proceeds of your life insurance proceeds and your retirement plans. These funds are transferred directly to the people you name without going through probate. A spouse has the option of rolling over retirement monies into his or her IRA. Required distributions from an inherited IRA are based on the age of the oldest beneficiary. Charities can be named as beneficiaries and the payment will not be subject to income tax. Life insurance proceeds can be paid to a trust and held for the benefit of minor children. These are just a few of the considerations when designating your beneficiaries. Please consult with an attorney as the beneficiary designation must be part of a complete estate plan.