Certain assets are not included as part of a person’s estate and may pass outside of probate, such as trust assets and transfer on death accounts or property owned by joint tenants which passes under a right of survivorship when one tenant dies. When property passes by contract terms, such as a bank account naming a beneficiary, or through rights as a joint tenant with rights of survivorship, this is referred to in the clause as property that “would by operation of law upon my death vest in or pass to such surviving person”.
Such a clause deals with the situation where there is both a joint owner and a named beneficiary. For example, a husband and wife may be joint owners of a bank account and name a child on the account as beneficiary. The clause seeks to clarify the intent of the will maker (testator), confirming his/her intent that any named co-owner or beneficiary shall inherit the deceased’s share, regardless of other legal rules. So, in the example above, the child named as a beneficiary on the parents’ account would become a joint owner of the account with the mother if the testator’s wishes are followed. Otherwise, the bank’s rules may prevent the child from inheriting as a beneficiary until the mother also died.