Even if you have a will, you’ll need to designate a beneficiary on your life insurance policy.
When you finally buy that life insurance policy for your family, you’ll be asked to name a beneficiary. This person will receive any policy proceeds that are paid out at your death. When you’re asked to fill out the paperwork, you may not give your beneficiary much thought.
However, it’s worth taking a little time to think about how you name your beneficiaries. It’s easier than you might imagine to inadvertently cause problems down the road.
Whatever you do, name someone. If you don’t, the policy proceeds will be part of your estate after your death. That means that the money won’t get to your family as quickly as it could!
Naming a Child
If you’re buying life insurance to provide for your young children, don’t simply put your children as beneficiaries. There must be a dedicated adult in charge of any money that they become entitled to. You can ensure that the money reaches your child in one of two ways:
- Set up a custodianship under the UTMA. Name an adult as “custodian” of the under a law called the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA). The custodian will manage the funds and use them for the child’s benefit until a certain age (21 in most states).
- Set up a trust for the children with an adult designated as a “trustee”. This person will then manage and spend the money for the child’s benefit. In this case, you could name the trust as the beneficiary of the life insurance policy.
- Always put down a specific name, not ‘my children’, ‘my wife’, or ‘the cleaning lady across the street’.
- If you want to steer money towards a beneficiary with special needs, create a special needs or supplemental trust for the quickest route for him or her to receive the money.
- When your life changes, always update your policy!
- Don’t try to use your will to change a beneficiary. Fill out the documents it requires.
Now that you know useful information on why you need to designate a beneficiary, you can make smart decisions for your family and finances. When deciding on the best life insurance for you, contact Jack Stone Insurance Agency for all of your life insurance needs in Antioch, California!