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Contingent Beneficiary

What is a Contingent Beneficiary?

A contingent beneficiary pertains to an individual receives a gift from a will or insurance and where this individual will only receive this gift if a certain situations happens. This can consist of a beneficiary being married to another individual and has completed their courses in college, or even when an individual has suffered from a drug habit and has overcome their addiction. The laws can vary from state to state depending on the situation. Knowing your rights and responsibilities as a contingent beneficiary is very important. Read below these questions answered by the Experts to help you gain insight regarding Contingent beneficiary rights and responsibilities.

If a contingent beneficiary dies before the policy holder, who is entitled to the contingent beneficiary’s portion?

If the primary beneficiary is alive their portion would go to that person or persons. If the primary beneficiary is deceased then it would go to any other contingents. If no other contingents are still on the policy then the money would be entered into the estate to be divided among any other beneficiaries.

If someone has attempted to change a policy making an individual the beneficiary, the form was rejected asking them to complete the relationship of their contingent whom is their child but never did because of their illness. Who is entitled to this individual’s estate?

This would depend whether the insurance company rejected the entire form or just the contingency issue. If the company has accepted this individual as beneficiary then contingency is not an issue and that should be the end of it. If the entire form was rejected then the beneficiary named before the change would have a right to collect.

If both parents are deceased and an insurance policy is located naming one of them as beneficiary does that money go to the estate or to the children?

If there was a contingent beneficiary, they will take all beneficiary rights. If there is no contingent beneficiary then in most cases the proceeds would be paid to the estate. However, if there was a “per stirpes” designation, a person could have a policy that paid the lineal heirs of the deceased.

How can I ensure that my estranged child, who is a contingent beneficiary on my deferred compensation and pension plan, gets treated fairly after my death?

In many situations, your spouse must sign a spousal waiver and consent form for each company that manages any retirement accounts that are governed by ERISA, (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.) Any other property that you have only in your name and was acquired prior to marriage, inherited, or gifted to you individually, you can either give to your child now, gift them a joint ownership interest, or provide in your will that all of your property would go to your child. As far as community property, you can only dispose of one-half of your marital property by will.

How can three siblings divide life insurance and an estate that has no contingent beneficiary, and shows the deceased mother as beneficiary?

Though intestacy statutes vary from state to state, in most cases the estate and life insurance would pass equally to all three siblings.

Being a contingent beneficiary to an estate is at times confusing and can be filled with stress. Being well informed can be the best way to handle all the added responsibilities. Knowing the contingent beneficiary laws will bring you peace-of-mind if you are faced with a tough decision or situation. If you are not well informed you can turn to an Expert for more information.
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