When you apply for life insurance, you may expect your beneficiary to live longer than you. However, there is a chance that they’ll pass away before they’re able to collect your death benefit. Keep reading to find out what can happen when your life insurance beneficiary is deceased and what you can do to protect your policy.
A life insurance beneficiary is a person or entity that can receive the death benefit if you pass away while your policy is still active.1 As a policyholder, it’s your job to choose a beneficiary, which may be your spouse, adult child, or even a charity you support. You should name them on the life insurance beneficiary designation form, which is a legal document the life insurance company will use to determine who is entitled to the death benefit upon your passing.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Help cover yourself and your family with affordable coverage from Aflac.
There are two main types of beneficiaries:1
The individual or entity that can receive your life insurance payout if your beneficiary dies depends on the unique situation:2
If your sole primary beneficiary passes away, the death benefit would go to any contingent beneficiaries you named when you applied for your policy. In the event you didn’t designate any contingent beneficiaries, the death payout would likely go directly into your estate.
If you named more than one primary beneficiary and one of them dies, the remaining beneficiaries would be entitled to the death benefit.3 Typically, they’d each receive the same amount of money, but you can request a different type of distribution if you’d like.
If your contingent beneficiary passes away, and your primary beneficiary is also deceased, any remaining beneficiaries will receive the payout. If there are no remaining beneficiaries, there’s a good chance the death benefit would be paid to your estate. Keep in mind that this will involve the probate process, which can take some time.
If you named an organization as a beneficiary but it doesn’t exist upon your death, the death benefit may be paid to your estate. A different organization that has taken over the organization you named may also collect the payout.
Here’s how you can protect your life insurance beneficiaries and policy:2
With a contingent beneficiary, you can ensure the death benefit doesn’t go to your estate. This strategy gives you more control over who benefits from your policy.
You might want to assign multiple people or entities as your primary beneficiaries. If one of them passes away or no longer exists, the remaining beneficiaries will receive the payout.
When you go through life changes, like marriage, divorce, or childbirth, make changes to your beneficiaries if you’d like. Otherwise, your death benefit may go to a person or entity that is your second rather than first choice.
Life insurance beneficiaries must file a claim and prove who they are in order to collect the death benefit. For this reason, it’s up to you to provide them with all the details of your policy and educate them on the claims process.
Make sure your life insurance beneficiaries are aware of your policy and what they need to do to receive the payout if you pass away while it’s active. If you only have a primary beneficiary, it’s in your best interest to add more primary beneficiaries or contingent beneficiaries.
Aflac offers term and whole life insurance plans. You can easily choose your beneficiaries and enjoy a convenient application process, along with affordable premiums. Chat with a representative today for a quote or more information.
Explore your life insurance options.
1 Insurance Information Institute – What is a Beneficiary? https://www.iii.org/article/what-beneficiary. Accessed May 3, 2023.
2 Bankrate - What Happens When Your Life Insurance Beneficiary Dies Before You? Updated January 5, 2023. https://www.bankrate.com/insurance/life-insurance/life-insurance-benificiary-dies/. Accessed May 3, 2023.
3 Policygenius - What Happens to Life Insurance with No Beneficiary? Updated June 20, 2022. https://www.policygenius.com/life-insurance/what-happens-when-your-life-insurance-beneficiary-dies-before-you/. Accessed May 3, 2023.
Content within this article is provided for general informational purposes and is not provided as tax, legal, health, or financial advice for any person or for any specific situation. Employers, employees, and other individuals should contact their own advisers about their situations. For complete details, including availability and costs of Aflac insurance, please contact your local Aflac agent.
Coverage is underwritten by American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus. In New York, coverage is underwritten by American Family Life Assurance Company of New York.
68000 series: In Arkansas, Idaho, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, & Virginia, Policies: ICC1368100, ICC1368200, ICC1368300, ICC1368400. In Delaware, Policies A68100-A68400. In New York, NY68100-NY68400.65000 series: In Virginia, Policies ICC0965JTO & ICC0965JWO. B61000 series: In Arkansas, Idaho, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, & Virginia, Policies: ICC18B61JWO & ICC18B61JTO. In Delaware, Policies B61JWO, B61JTO. B60000 series: In Arkansas, Idaho, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, & Virginia, Policies: ICC18B60C10, ICC18B60100, ICC18B60200, ICC18B60300, & ICC18B60400. Q60000 series: Whole: In Arkansas, Delaware & Oregon, Policy Q60100M. In Idaho Policy Q60100MID. In Oklahoma, Policy Q60100MOK. In Texas, Policy Q60100MTX.Q60000 series: Term: In Delaware, Policies Q60200CM. In Arkansas, Idaho, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Policies ICC18Q60200C, ICC18Q60300C, ICC18Q60400C.
Final Expense insurance coverage is underwritten by Tier One Insurance Company. The life insurance policy described herein contains an optional Accelerated Death Benefits Rider that is intended for favorable tax treatment under Section 101(g) of the Internal Revenue Code. Aflac does not give legal or tax advice. Please consult with a qualified legal, tax, and accounting advisor before engaging in any transaction. In AR, AZ, ID, OK, OR, PA, TX and VA: Policies ICC21-AFLLBL21 and ICC21-AFLRPL21; and Riders ICC21-AFLABR22, ICC21-AFLADB22, and ICC21-AFLCDR22. Tier One Insurance Company is part of the Aflac family of insurers. In California, Tier One Insurance Company does business as Tier One Life Insurance Company (Tier One NAIC 92908).
Coverage may not be available in all states, including but not limited to DE, ID, NJ, NM, NY or VA. Benefits/premium rates may vary based on state and plan levels. Optional riders may be available at an additional cost. Policies and riders may also contain a waiting period. Refer to the exact policy and rider forms for benefit details, definitions, limitations and exclusions.
WWHQ | Tier One Insurance Company | 1932 Wynnton Road | Columbus, GA 31999
NY | 22 Corporate Woods Boulevard, Suite 2 | Albany, NY 12211