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Beneficiaries

Selecting Heirs

Naming beneficiaries for your estate or for your life insurance policies tend not to be given sufficient attention by some people.

This should be a very important decision for you and careful consideration should be given to the matter before coming to a final conclusion as to who should be named and how the proceeds of you policies should be distributed.

In some cases naming specific recipients can be a simple thing to do but in other situations it can be an extremely complex consideration depending on the size of the estate, the number of recipients involved and their relationship to the insured.


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It is also of paramount importance to regularly update your beneficiary designation just as you would your will in order to be assured the proceeds of your policies go where you want them to go.

  • Name Primary Beneficiaries As Well As Contingents. It is always smart to have a contingent designation as well as a primary designation in the event that you should outlive your primary beneficiary.
  • Be Specific About Wording Of Designation. Be careful about the wording. Always state the full name of the person who is to receive the proceeds as well as the relationship to the insured.

    A name without relationship will not do because someone else may have that same name and this could cause a problem. In the same way relationship like husband of the insured without that persons name could also cause a problem if there is a former husband.
  • Never Ever Make Life Insurance Proceeds A Part Of Your Estate. Never make your life insurance proceeds payable to your estate. Elect a specific person to receive the proceeds.

    Payment of life insurance proceeds will be made immediately and can be used to assist with final expenses. If the proceeds are part of your estate payment to your family will be delayed as the estate has to go through probate before any payment is made.
  • Naming Children Can Be An Extremely Technical Matter. If you decide to name a child or children the wording has to be very specific. If you choose to name specific children and another child is born you should immediately add that newborn to your policy lest that child be disinherited upon your death.

    If your wife has a child from a previous marriage and your designation is "children of the insured Jim Smith" then her child from the previous marriage would be disinherited.
  • State What Portion Of The Proceeds Goes To Whom. The portion of the proceeds payable to each designate should also be spelled out when there is more than one. If this is not done the proceeds will be shared equally and could, in some cases, defeat the entire purpose of your plan.

You should give naming a beneficiary a great deal of thought in order to guarantee that your desires are realized.


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