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Contingent Beneficiaries

Naming Contingent Beneficiary

Contingent Beneficiaries. When you buy a life insurance policy you will be required to name a beneficiary.

You want to be certain the proceeds of the policy goes to the deserving person. There are three levels of beneficiaries.

They are the primary beneficiary, the contingent beneficiary and what is referred to by some life insurance companies as further payees.


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  • Primary Beneficiary

    Most people know what a primary beneficiary is. This is the person you want to get the proceeds of your life insurance policy upon your death. If you are a single applicant this is usually a parent.

    Mom more often than not is chosen. Some applicants choose a brother or sister. Either a single primary beneficiary is chosen or in some cases more than one is named. The proceeds can be paid in equal shares or you can decide to distribute it in percentages.

    A married person usually wants the proceeds to go to a spouse especially if there are dependent children involved. The wife or husband would therefore be named as the primary beneficiary.

    If you are part of a business partnership the other partner or partners are named primary beneficiary in the policies if there is a buy sell agreement involved. If we are dealing with a corporation the other primary stockholders can be named as primary beneficiary. The corporation, however, is named beneficiary more often than not.
  • Contingent Beneficiary

    I gave you the above details in order to make clear what a contingent beneficiary is. If the primary beneficiary die before the insured you would want to know that the policy proceeds go where you want it to go.

    You may say that all you have to do is to quickly change the primary recipient of the proceeds and all will be well. That may work just fine but what if the insured and the primary beneficiary dies at the same time? What then? Where would you want the money to go? If you name a contingent beneficiary your wishes would be fulfilled.
  • Further Payees

    If there is only one primary beneficiary named and one contingent sometimes it may be wise to name further payees. Dad is the insured. He and mom die in an automobile accident. It is good if further payees are named to assure yourself that the children are taken care of in this event.

    The single insured dies. Mom is person named and dad is contingent on his life insurance policies, but mom and dad died a year back and this person forgot to change the beneficiary. It would be best if further payees were named.

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