You have done the responsible thing, and purchased a life insurance policy. You have assured that there will be some financial assistance for your family after you pass away. The next step is to decide who you would like to name as the beneficiary. State Farm has some advice that can help you make that important decision.
My husband and I have life insurance policies with State Farm. One of the nice things about State Farm is that they have a Learning Center on their website that can answer many of your insurance related questions. Under the “Life” section of this learning center, there is a very helpful article called “Who’s Your Beneficiary?”
The physical act of choosing a beneficiary is extremely simple. Just write someone’s name on the blank line in the beneficiary form. This is all it takes to officially designate someone as your beneficiary, and as the person whom the insurance company will pay out the death benefit to.
It is strongly advised that you take the time to really think about who it would be best to designate as your beneficiary, though. One way to make that decision would be to figure out who would have the most need for the money that would come from the death benefit. In most cases, that person would be your spouse, or your domestic partner.
What if you have gotten divorced? This would be a good time to change your beneficiary. If you don’t trust your ex-spouse, you might want to select one of your children as a beneficiary instead. This will be easy to do if your children have become adults. If your child is under the age of 18, this can be problematic. You might need to set up a trust for that minor, and a trustee to manage the account until your child becomes an adult.
What if you aren’t married, and you don’t have any children? You are allowed to choose whomever you want as your beneficiary. You can make your domestic partner your beneficiary. Some people will select one of their siblings, especially if that sister or brother happens to be really good with managing money. You can choose a cousin, or a best friend, or the adult child of your best friend. It really is up to you.
It is possible to designate a charity as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy. People tend to do this if they are heavily involved in a particular charity, or if they feel very strongly about whatever the charity raises money for. This could be a good option for people who are not married, who have no children, or who have outlived most of their family members.
Image by Danielle Boyle Photography on Flickr