The ABC’s for Choosing Life Insurance Beneficiaries

Happy couple with children

You buy life insurance to help financially protect the people you love most, should the unthinkable happen to you. That’s why choosing a Beneficiary or Beneficiaries is so important – it’s the person (or entity) who will receive the payout money from your life insurance policy.

Designating a Beneficiary may seem simple, and it generally is. However, an inadvertent mistake can sometimes lead to major headaches for those left behind.

Here are some ins and outs for choosing a life insurance Beneficiary and helping to make sure that the benefit amount goes where you intended:

Who can be listed as a Beneficiary?

You may select any person or entity to be a Beneficiary of your insurance policy’s benefit amount, in the event of your death. It can be a family member, a friend or anyone else, or even a charitable organization.

Can I name a child as a Beneficiary?

Yes. However, there are additional considerations if you plan to name a child or grandchild as a Beneficiary, and if the child is still a minor (younger than age 18) at the time that Gerber Life receives the insurance claim.

Here are three of the most common, scenarios that may occur when the Beneficiary is still a minor:  

  1. A court can appoint a guardian of the minor child’s estate. The guardian can then receive the benefit amount on behalf of the minor child.
  2. A trust can be established for the benefit of the child who’s still a minor, in which case the Trustee can receive the benefit amount on behalf of the minor child.
  3. We can hold the benefit amount until the child turns 18 or the age of maturity in the state where the child lives.  

Can I list multiple Beneficiaries?

Yes. You can list as many beneficiaries as you wish. The division of the benefit amount can be handled in various ways, and you can specify how you would like to have the money distributed. You’ll want to consult with an attorney for your particular situation, but here are some basic examples:

  1. Succession. The benefit amount would be paid to your Primary Beneficiary(s), if surviving. If not surviving, the benefit amount would be paid to your Contingent Beneficiary(s) (your second choice) listed in your insurance policy.
  2. Equal division. In cases where more than one person is listed as the Primary Beneficiary, the benefit amount would be divided equally among them.
  3. Percentage division. If you wish to name several beneficiaries but have each receive a different benefit amount, you could specify the percentage that each Beneficiary is to receive , but the total must equal 100 %. 

How do I designate a Beneficiary in a life insurance policy?

A life insurance policy is a legal contract between the policy owner and the insurance company. As such, it’s important to read your insurance contract carefully and   follow the procedure outlined for designating a Beneficiary. 

Who receives the benefit amount if there’s no Beneficiary?

If no life insurance Beneficiary is named on an adult life insurance policy, the benefit amount would be paid to insured’s estate.

Can I change the Beneficiaries if I wish to?

Yes. You can change any of the beneficiaries listed on your life insurance policy, at  any time, for any reason. Maybe you’ve remarried and want to update the Beneficiary to be your current spouse. Or perhaps you’ve had another child and want to add that child as a Beneficiary.

Whatever the reason, Gerber Life allows you to make changes to your listed Beneficiary at any time by logging into eService account.


Was this article helpful?

Get inspired with our free e‑newsletter for parents

Get our free parenting e‑newsletter with:

– Parenting advice

– Money-saving tips

– Life insurance blogs

No thank you

By signing up, you agree to occasionally receive emails from Gerber Life. Unsubscribe at any time. View our privacy policy.