Like a will, a life insurance policyholder needs to keep documents updated to reflect changes in circumstance and to avoid problems with claims when the time comes. For the policyholder, the beneficiary designation requires checking to ensure those nominated are still legible and relevant.
When a primary beneficiary cannot or will not receive the insurance benefit, for whatever reason, secondary nominees become eligible to receive the payout. When filling out your beneficiary designation, you have the option to name contingent beneficiaries to accommodate this situation.
Read more to find out.
What are contingent beneficiaries?
Contingent or secondary benefits are people, organizations or other entities identified by the policyholder as beneficiaries if the primary beneficiary refuses, cannot be located or is ineligible.
Minors can be named as contingent beneficiaries. However, they will need an appointed legal guardian who will receive and manage any payout until the child reaches 18 or 21, depending on state law. The policyholder can also extend the guardian’s management of the benefit until a later age.
When can contingent beneficiaries receive the benefit?
Primary beneficiaries may become ineligible to claim life insurance benefits for many reasons. Out-of-date information, such as significant life changes of the primary beneficiary, including marriage, divorce or birth, can compromise their claim.
Another example is if the primary beneficiary is directly involved or is an accomplice to killing the policyholder to receive the benefit. Most insurance policies cover death by murder. This means beneficiaries still receive the insurance benefit if the policyholder was murdered, provided that they died after a two-year contestability period. However, if the primary beneficiary was directly involved or is an accomplice to the murder, then the insurance benefit will go to the contingent beneficiary.
How many contingent beneficiaries can be assigned?
As with the number of primary beneficiaries, a policyholder can list multiple contingent beneficiaries. If the primary beneficiary does not receive policy payments, the named contingent beneficiaries will share the death benefit. Each recipient receives a percentage of the total sum as determined by the policyholder or the court.
A contingent beneficiary receives the death benefit as stipulated in the insurance policy for the primary beneficiary. For example, if the policyholder wanted the primary to receive a monthly sum for ten years, then the contingent beneficiary will receive it the same way.
What to do for denied life insurance claims
Insurance providers may deny a claim for several reasons, including out-of-date beneficiary designations or if the contingent beneficiary is a minor.
If you have any concerns or find yourself denied what appears to be legally yours, seek a life insurance lawyer to assist you. The lawyer will review your policy, determine your eligibility and help you in your next steps.
Haffner Law is a trusted law firm in Los Angeles. We have helped countless people in their fight against wrongly denied insurance claims. If there is evidence that the death benefit of your partner or relative was wrongly denied, we can help you file a complaint.
Get a free consultation today. Call us at 1-844-HAFFNER (423-3637).