There are several methods of transferring property at death. A transfer of probate property by a valid will or a deed of transfer will generally involve the assistance and advice of an attorney. While transferring property through probate is unavoidable in certain cases, this does have its downsides. As the probate court becomes involved, the transfer of property can become more costly and delays can occur. Some of the largest transfers of wealth made by Americans are directed by beneficiary designations and outside of probate. Unfortunately, the beneficiary designation is sometimes made without a great deal of thought, almost no advice and in a hurry. We always tell our estate planning students that a beneficiary designation is an estate plan because it provides a mechanism for wealth transfer. However, beneficiary designations should be thoughtfully made in accordance with other estate planning documents, as the decision can have both intended and, perhaps, unintended consequences.