Sunday, November 28, 2010

Can My Boyfriend Be a Beneficiary to My Life Insurance?

Choosing the beneficiary for your life insurance policy requires careful thought and consideration. Your personal situation and goals for the money will dictate the most appropriate recipient of your policy's proceeds.

Selecting and, if necessary, changing life insurance beneficiaries is a simple task that can be completed quickly and without difficulty.

Insurable Interest


The most important aspect to choosing your life insurance beneficiary is "insurable interest." This term defines a legitimate need for the chosen individual to receive money in the event of your death. The concept of life insurance is not to make a person rich, but rather to replace the financial support you provide.

It makes no sense to choose a beneficiary not currently relying on your income, unless that person's function is to manage or otherwise distribute the policy proceeds according to your wishes. If your boyfriend does not meet this criteria, do not list him as your beneficiary.

Primary versus Contingent


Two classes of beneficiary exist, Primary and Contingent. The primary beneficiary represents your first choice of recipients for the life insurance proceeds, and the contingent beneficiary represents your second choice.

The contingent beneficiary will receive no portion of the life insurance benefits unless all primary beneficiaries are deceased or unwilling to accept the money. Consider these rules regarding how life insurance proceeds get distributed to beneficiaries before listing your boyfriend as primary or contingent.

Changing Beneficiaries


The process of changing your primary or contingent beneficiaries requires submitting a properly completed and executed beneficiary change form to the life insurance company. You may submit a new form at any time without restrictions, but insurance companies frown on repeated or frequent beneficiary changes.

The Beneficiary Change Form is easily obtained from your life insurance company's website or customer service department. Some insurance companies accept faxed or emailed copies of the form, while others insist on originals.

To add your boyfriend as a beneficiary, list his full legal name, date of birth, Social Security number, and address in the appropriate form fields, along with a clear indication as to what percentage of your policy's proceeds should be given to him.

Practicality


Think carefully before listing your boyfriend as your life insurance policy beneficiary. Especially if your relationship is relatively new, consider how well you actually know this person before potentially entitling him to a large sum of money.

Would a different person be in a better, more logical position to properly handle your life insurance benefit? If you truly believe that your boyfriend is the best, most appropriate beneficiary, enter his information on the paperwork. No one can force you to add, remove, or otherwise change your beneficiaries, nor dictate how much of your policy's benefits are earmarked for each person.

References


Insurance.com: What Does Insurable Interest Mean on a Life Insurance Policy?
1stQuote.com: Choosing a Life Insurance Beneficiary
USAA: Avoid Beneficiary Blunders

Article originally published on eHow Business & Personal Finance (11/28/2010), later on Sapling (01/07/2011)