How many beneficiaries can I add to my life insurance policy?

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Asked July 23, 2012

1 Answer

When you take out a life insurance policy, you have many options for the beneficiary. In fact, there are no restrictions on who you can name, even a business, trust, or charity. If you choose to divide the death benefits up among more than one beneficiary, you can either set specific amounts for each, or set the policy to be divided as you see fit between any number of beneficiaries. How you wish to arrange things is your choice, and your insurance agent can advise you of the advantages available using different methods.

One example might be if you are not sure how many beneficiaries there will be at the time of your death. For instance, if you want to split up the death benefits among your children and grandchildren, but you do not know how many grandchildren there are going to be, you could use something such as your children "and each of their offspring. This could even be fine-tuned to be "each of the children born to Jane Doe and her husband John." Keep in mind that the more vague the beneficiary list is, the more likely it is to be contested and your life insurance could end up being wasted away on litigation.

Another possibility would be to leave the proceeds to your immediate family, such as your wife and children. In this case, name each person specifically, and you can avoid disputes over who was intended to be a beneficiary. Naming each person also gives you the ability to omit one or more potential heirs from receiving any of the death benefit such as "My wife Joan Doe and our children Sarah, Bob and Mark. William has indicated that he does not want to benefit from my death, and should be omitted from receiving any portion."

Or you could leave the death benefits to your immediate family, and to one or more charities of your choice. Be sure to specify what amount or portion of the benefits each named entity, whether a person or organization, is to receive. To avoid the benefits being included as part of your estate, you can even set up a trust for the death benefits, with payments to be made to any number of people, either for a specify number of months or years, or as a lump sum payment.

Answered July 23, 2012 by Anonymous

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