Life insurance should give you and your loved ones the peace of mind that they will have funds available if anything happens to you. But that may not happen if your beneficiary information isn’t up-to-date.
Not keeping beneficiaries up-to-date may result in your benefits going to a former spouse, a deceased parent’s estate, and your estate. It could also result in payment delays at a critical time. For example, if the listed beneficiaries are children from a first marriage, then children from a current marriage might contest the claim if they believe they have more recent documents showing they should be the beneficiaries. No one can be paid until it is determined who is legally entitled to the money.
If you’ve had a recent life event, such as a change in marital status, the addition of a child or the death of a loved one, then now is a good time to review your beneficiary designation for Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI), Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) and the VA Insurance policies starting with V, RH, RS, J, K or W.
It’s the best way to ensure your life insurance benefit is paid to the people whom you want to receive it.
Even if you haven’t experienced a recent life event, it’s a good idea to review your beneficiaries at least once a year. So, mark it on your calendar as an annual event. Remember, you have the legal right to name any beneficiary you want and change your beneficiary at any time.
You can access all Change of Beneficiary forms at http://www.benefits.va.gov/INSURANCE/updatebene.asp. Here is how:
|If you have
|A VA policy starting with V, RH, RS, J, K or W
||Form SGLV 8286
||Form SGLV 8721 or log onto your VGLI Online Account at www.benefits.va.gov/insurance.
Dave Roesner is the chief of VA’s insurance claims division.