- A beneficiary is someone who receives the assets or benefits of a financial account or insurance policy upon the account holder's or policyholder's death.
- Beneficiaries can be individuals or organizations.
- It's crucial to review and update beneficiary designations regularly.
Think of a beneficiary as the recipient of a gift from someone who has passed away. In financial terms, a beneficiary is the person or entity chosen to receive the assets or benefits of a financial account or insurance policy when the account holder or policyholder dies.
For example, if you have a life insurance policy, you can designate your spouse as the primary beneficiary and your child as the contingent beneficiary. In the event of your death, the insurance proceeds will be paid out to your spouse as the primary beneficiary. However, if your spouse is no longer alive or refuses the proceeds, they would then be paid to your child as the contingent beneficiary.
Real world example of beneficiaries
Let's say you have a retirement account, such as an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). As the account holder, you can designate your sibling as the beneficiary of your IRA. If something were to happen to you, your sibling would inherit the assets in the IRA. This ensures that your hard-earned savings go to the person you intended.
It's essential to regularly review and update your beneficiary designations, especially during significant life events like marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child. By keeping your beneficiaries up to date, you ensure that your assets are distributed according to your current wishes.
The importance of beneficiaries
A beneficiary is the person or entity chosen to receive the assets or benefits of a financial account or insurance policy upon the account holder's or policyholder's death. By designating beneficiaries, you have control over how your assets are distributed after your passing. Whether it's naming family members, friends, or charitable organizations, understanding and regularly reviewing your beneficiary designations is crucial to ensure your assets are passed on as intended.