For Life and/or AD&D coverages, the employee must designate a beneficiary on the Enrollment Form. The beneficiary is an individual, organization, endowment, trust, or estate named by the insured to receive the insurance proceeds payable under the plan at his or her death.
By designating a beneficiary, the employee is assured that Trustmark will make payment of the proceeds to the desired person(s) at the time of death, in accordance with all state and federal laws and regulations.
When no beneficiary is named, payment may be distributed according to the Certificate of Insurance or Group Policy provisions. Failure to name a beneficiary often causes a delay in payment and additional expenses for the deceased’s family. Employees should be encouraged to designate a valid beneficiary (ies) upon enrollment.
: Your state may have specific regulations relating to beneficiary designations.
Individual beneficiaries should be identified by first name, middle initial and last name. The beneficiary’s relationship to the employee should be specified. (An insured cannot name his or her employer as beneficiary.)
Acceptable beneficiary relationships include husband, wife, son, daughter, grandfather, cousin, uncle, sister-in-law, etc. When the beneficiary is not a relative, the relationship should be specified as non-relative, not friend or guardian.
The insured may designate his or her estate as the beneficiary. In the event of a claim, payment will be made to the person approved by a court as the executor of the Estate or administrator of the Will. The fewest complications arise when the designation is simply "My Estate" or "the Executor of my Will," not a specified designation like "Samuel Smith, Executor of my Estate."
The guardian of a minor should not be designated as a beneficiary. The minor should be the designated beneficiary. In the event of a claim that occurs while the beneficiary is a minor, proceeds will be paid to the duly appointed guardian of the minor’s estate, which might be someone other than the guardian of the minor child.
Two or more persons named as co-beneficiaries will share the proceeds equally, unless otherwise specified. If an insured does not want equal distribution, the insured should specify the percentage or proportion that each beneficiary is to receive, rather than the dollar amount. This practice eliminates the need to redesignate the beneficiary when the amount of coverage changes. When percentages are used, they must total 100 percent.
Primary and Contingent Beneficiaries
Proceeds are paid to the Primary Beneficiary, if living at the time of the insured’s death. If the Primary Beneficiary is deceased, proceeds are payable to the Contingent Beneficiary, if one was designated by the insured.
Titles such as Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms., Dr., should not be used in beneficiary designations. A married woman should be referred to by her given name. For example, Jane E. Carlton, not Mrs. Raymond W. Carlton.
Organizations or Endowments
The insured may designate a corporation or charitable organization other than the employer as beneficiary. The name and address by which the organization or corporation takes title to property should be indicated. The organization must have representatives who are empowered to accept such funds – such as a board of directors or board of trustees – and the existence of, which should be continuous, so that payment can be made safely to such representatives in the event of a claim. The beneficiary designation should indicate whether or not there are directors or trustees.
The insured may designate a Trust as beneficiary. In the event of a claim, payment will be made to the Trust named in the Trust Agreement. The beneficiary designation must include the full name and address of each Trustee and the title and the date of the Trust Agreement. A Trust should not be designated unless each Trustee is named in an existing Trust arrangement.
Effect of Divorce
In the event of divorce between the insured and a beneficiary, the insured beneficiary designation should not conflict with the terms of the divorce decree. If you learn of an insured’s divorce, you should meet with the insured to review the beneficiary designation. If relationships are changed, the designation should reflect the change. For example, wife should be changed to ex-wife to distinguish from the wife of a new marriage.
When there is any question about conforming to the law, the insured should be referred to his or her attorney.
Procedure to Make Beneficiary Changes Through Express
Insureds should be urged to review and update their beneficiary designations as soon as a change is required to avoid possible difficulty in determining the beneficiary of choice in the event of death.
Procedure to Manually Make Beneficiary Changes:
- You or your employees may access the Maintain Beneficiaries menu option in Express to change an existing beneficiary, add additional beneficiaries, or delete a beneficiary.
- Benefits Save and Continue to complete the Transaction.
Members should be urged to update beneficiary designations as soon as a change is required to avoid possible difficulty in determining the beneficiary of choice in the event of death.
- The employee must complete, sign and date the Beneficiary Change Form.
- Review the form for accuracy and completeness and mail all copies to:
Attn: Group Premium Department
Trustmark Group Insurance
P.O. Box 7904
Lake Forest, IL 60045-7904
- Keep a copy with your group insurance records and give the other copy to the employee.