you'll want to name a beneficiary in your burial insurance policy

What Happens if I Never Choose a Beneficiary?

The main purpose of burial insurance is that it allows policyholders an opportunity to secure funds for loved ones to cover their final costs after they pass away. The policyholder often chooses a loved one as the beneficiary so that they can receive and use the funds accordingly. 

When choosing a burial insurance policy it’s important to take into account who might be a suitable beneficiary. So, what is a beneficiary? And what happens if one isn’t chosen? Senior Life Services will explain.

What Is a Beneficiary?

A beneficiary is typically a person or entity that will get financial benefits from a life insurance policy, or a burial insurance policy. If multiple people are chosen, the specific percentage would be predetermined by the policyholder. The designated beneficiaries are typically chosen when filing for the policy but can sometimes be determined or changed at a later date.  

In addition, insurers will typically allow a beneficiary change — as long as the proper paperwork is submitted. In terms of receiving the benefit, beneficiaries generally have to file a claim and show proof of death to request and obtain the payments, which can typically be given as a lump sum or installments.  

The beneficiary can then use the funds for any final expenses, which are sometimes defined in the policyholder’s final wishes but could be used for a variety of things like medical bills, ongoing care, etc.

If There Isn’t a Beneficiary Chosen

If there isn’t a designated beneficiary, the estate may be determined as in intestacy, which means to be without a will. In situations like this, the person’s state would determine who should receive the funds. Life insurance policies, however, could have options to properly plan and name a hierarchy of beneficiaries to ensure that if the primary one dies then there will be a subsequent contingent beneficiary.  

In addition, it’s advised to periodically review and evaluate policies and circumstances to ensure that the policyholder is prepared and has adequate designated beneficiaries.

What If I Choose a Beneficiary?

As mentioned previously, you can nominate more than one beneficiary to receive the death benefit. So, regardless of who you choose, let them know your final wishes and what should be covered by the death benefit amount. This can include your funeral, memorial, cremation or burial, urn or casket, or even medical bills that may arise surrounding your last moments.

Trust Is Everything

If you’re to choose a beneficiary or multiple beneficiaries, make sure you choose those who you trust to ensure these costs get covered with the death benefit. Your end-of-life wishes should always be documented and written on paper with multiple copies that are kept in secure places, such as a safety deposit box or even a safe you keep inside your home.

With this in mind, don’t just let your wishes stay on paper. Make sure you have a talk with your chosen beneficiaries so they can also hear your wishes come directly from you. Without sharing this vital information, you could be making a mistake when the time comes to handle your end-of-life costs. 

This can certainly be a challenging conversation to have as no one likes to think or talk about death, but it’s only necessary, and can save your loved ones thousands of dollars and added stress by letting them know you already have a plan set in motion.

Planning a Funeral

Choosing or not choosing beneficiaries are all part of the funeral planning process. While there are definitely other things you need to consider as well, such as if you want to be cremated or buried, or if you do or do not want a memorial, etc., deciding on beneficiaries can be just as important. 

For many, their families will be the ones who will carry out their final wishes once they have passed. If you choose to have beneficiaries, letting them know about your burial arrangements and the measures you’ve taken to make sure it’s all covered will ensure that things go much smoother, especially when it comes to finances.

Need a Burial Policy? We Have You Covered.

Burial insurance is available to most people that are interested and want to limit the financial burden they leave behind if they were to die. It generally requires you to select some sort of beneficiary and ensure that the designated person(s) are updated if any changes occur.  

At the time of the policyholder’s death, the designated people, or person, would file a claim and receive the predetermined payout amounts to use for final expenses, or whatever is outlined in the policyholder’s final wishes. If there are no beneficiaries listed at the time at which the policyholder dies, then the state could be required to choose, which might not be ideal.  

If you have any questions about burial insurance and choosing beneficiaries, call Senior Life Services at 800-548-3249. We work with the best life insurance companies in Florida, and we can help you find the coverage that works best for you. It’s peace of mind for you and your loved ones.


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