When a loved one dies, there are questions to address, such as how to pay for a funeral and other death expenses. A life insurance policy may help. However, the deceased must have made sure the proper beneficiary is named.
If a beneficiary isn’t designated, some issues with the estate could arise, or the life insurance could go to the decedent’s estate. Likewise, the same is true if the one beneficiary preceded the decedent in death.
Yahoo Finance’s recent article entitled “What Happens If I Don’t Name a Life Insurance Beneficiary?” explains that a life insurance policy is a contract you enter into with a life insurance company.
When you set up your life insurance policy, you have the right to name one or more beneficiaries who’ll get the proceeds of the insurance policy when you die. You pay premiums on the policy until your death, to guarantee your beneficiaries that right.
You might designate just one beneficiary to receive all the proceeds. In addition to the primary beneficiary, you can name contingent beneficiaries who will receive the proceeds of life insurance if the primary beneficiary predeceases the life insurance policyholder.
It is important to add as much identifying information about your beneficiaries as possible, so they can be easily identified. It’s also important to keep your life insurance policy up to date on the information of your beneficiaries.
If there are no beneficiaries living, either the proceeds of the policy will enter the probate process, or the life insurance proceeds will pass to the decedent’s heirs-at-law who are those people who are close to the decedent and would probably inherit, if there was a beneficiary designation or will.
Heirs-at-law are also defined as those people who will inherit your assets, if you die intestate.
Dying without a beneficiary in place or leaving your estate as beneficiary of your life insurance policy have different rules in each state.
Ask an experienced estate planning attorney about your state’s rules and the rules of the life insurance company when you’re setting up your life insurance policy and will.
Reference: Yahoo Finance (Dec. 10, 2022) “What Happens If I Don’t Name a Life Insurance Beneficiary?”