When you die, you’re going to want to leave instructions for your survivors on how to handle your estate. If you have life insurance, you will include this policy as one of the assets that survives you, and for good reason. It can serve as a valuable financial tool to help survivors pick up the pieces following your death.
Determining who will benefit from your life insurance needs thought. Like you name beneficiaries in your will, you will need to name a beneficiary for your life insurance. Beneficiaries can be all sorts of different people. It’s up to you, the policyholder, to select the correct person for the benefit.
Why Life Insurance Helps Beneficiaries
By getting life insurance you can help those you name as beneficiaries in your policy. Life insurance provides a monetary sum after your death. It can provide a valuable financial cushion for those left behind.
This money might help replace income that you can no longer provide. It might also help you pay for your funeral costs, debts and other settlements. It can even provide for the education or other needs of your children. It’s something everyone should consider carrying.
Determining Your Beneficiaries
You can usually name almost anyone as the beneficiary of your life insurance. Most often, policyholders name their spouse or children as the policy recipients. Others might name extended relatives, close friends or even churches or charities. You can usually direct the life insurance towards the party to whom you think it will do the most good.
However, there are some technicalities to naming beneficiaries. For example, you usually cannot leave the benefit to children under the age of 18. You often have to leave policies to minors by placing the money in a trust. The trust often administers the money until the child comes of age. Or, you can name the child’s new guardian as the policy custodian. You then stipulate that the money in the policy must go to the child’s needs. This will help ensure no one abuses the policy.
If you want to have control on what happens with your policy funds, you need to add stipulations to the policy. If you don’t leave any instructions, beneficiaries can often do what they want with the policy funds.
Work with your insurance agent to establish a policy with the right beneficiary. If you decide to change the beneficiary, you usually have a free choice to do so. Take care when making this important decision.