Things You Should Know Before Choosing a Life Insurance Beneficiary – 2021 Update

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Life Insurance Beneficiary


Choosing a life insurance beneficiary can be hard sometimes.

If you’re willing to purchase life insurance, you’re doing so because you must have goals for the payout.

Maybe you want to pay for children’s college education or to grant funds for your family to handle bills if you’re gone.

Many life insurance consumers become motivated to purchase a policy because of a life event.

Now, statistically

In July 2020, Erie Insurance did a survey and they found:

  • 20% it’s getting married;
  • 20% said they were excited to have a child;
  • 14% said they took steps after buying a home.

More than that, another survey was done by Erie Insurance and found:

Your goals for purchasing life insurance will translate into selecting a beneficiary.

Thus, before you select who should hold the funds to meet your aim for the payout, consider these.

1. You Better Know Your Options Before Selecting Your Life Insurance Beneficiary

Notice that, there are more choices out there besides your kids or spouse when you start thinking to select a beneficiary.

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Usually, you can assign any one or more of the next cases as a beneficiary:

  • One person;
  • Two or more than two people (you determine how the interest is split between them);
  • The trustee of a business you’ve built;
  • Your estate;
  • Charity or a non-profit.

2. Always Keep the Main Purpose of The Policy in Mind.

The main motive why you’re getting life insurance should make your decision.

If you want to contribute financially to your family after you die? Your spouse might be the most suitable option in this case.

Furthermore, if you wish your business to continue, your business associate might be the best choice.

3. What Happens if You Don’t Name a Life Insurance Beneficiary?

If you ignore to choose any beneficiaries, then your life insurance returns will be returned to your estate.

If that occurs, the probate court will determine how to manage the funds.

This could take a while and maybe chip away at the profits.

So, to get the funds into the care of those who need them as soon as possible.

Thus, naming a beneficiary is the approach to go.

4. Avoid Selecting a Minor as Life Insurance Beneficiary

Life Insurance
Avoid Selecting a Minor as Life Insurance Beneficiary

State laws may restrict if or how much a minor child can gain from life insurance incomes.

Consequently, the court may have to select a guardian to manage the funds.

How you can avoid this?

By considering either establishing up a trust or selecting an adult you trust to supervise the delivery of the funds to the minor.

5. Keep it up-to-date

One of the most obvious mistakes with a life insurance policy is not holding the beneficiaries up-to-date.

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How so?

Let’s say you’re single now, and you picked your mother as the principal beneficiary, but later on, you get married.

If you didn’t update your life insurance beneficiary named on your policy, then the profits from it will still go to your mother.

6. Always Have a Backup Plan

On your policy, the principal beneficiary is the entity or the person(s) you decide to receive the life insurance profits upon your passing.

However, if your initial beneficiary rejects the proceeds, can’t be found, or is deceased at the time of your grave.

Then a secondary beneficiary becomes the receiver.

Hence, make sure you comprehend the same information for choosing a secondary receiver as you would for taking the first one.

7. Don’t Count on Your Will to Cancel Your Life Insurance Beneficiary Choices

Make sure your promises are held by having you will meet your life insurance policy.

If you renew your will, take all the time you need to update your life insurance recipients.

In the event your life insurance beneficiaries and your will do not resemble, your life insurance recipient names will win out each time.

Always remember,

Life insurance is a deal and will be required as it is formulated.

8. You Should Be Specific When You Select Life Insurance Beneficiary

In addition to keeping your recipients current, be precise when you identify them.

For example,

If you elect “my children” as beneficiaries and one of them passed before you.

In this case, do you desire the other child(ren) to receive the entire benefit or the deceased child’s beneficiaries to get their parent’s share?

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Think about it.

9. Don’t Unconsciously Disqualify Your Beneficiary from Other Benefits

According to the Social Security Administration, an aged person, disabled or blind and obtains Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Medicaid.

Possibly, he could have their financial benefits suspended or decreased if their inheritance raises their income, based on program qualification.

Consider federal regulations before adding any beneficiary, if one of your recipients needs to use these interests after your death.

10. Be Aware of State Laws Before You Select Your Life Insurance Beneficiary

In community property states, typically, your spouse would have to approve a waiver if you prefer someone else to be the beneficiary.

Verify with your self-governing life insurance agent for more details on this, and any other mysteries you have surrounding assigning your life insurance beneficiaries in your state.


This article is not meant to be used, by any taxpayer for the goal of avoiding the state, U.S. federal, or local tax punishments.

It is recorded to assist the promotion of the matter addressed here.

For further “Do’s and Don’ts” on life insurance beneficiaries, you can watch this video by Quotacy.