Updating Your Beneficiary Information

Updating your beneficiary information is something you hear about all the time. Although we hear about it, most of us never act upon it. We get tired of hearing about it; yet, it is very important to the people that remain after our passing.

Most of us, if not all of us, have changes that affect us and our loved one. Most of us will have financial accounts, make a will and have insurance policies. During the course of life, changes do occur. People will marry, divorce, open accounts, purchase property, take out loans, save money and attempt to ensure that our loves ones are taken care of after we pass. People need to make sure that the beneficiary listed on their financial accounts, wills and insurance policies are correct and current with our state law.

For example, in Mississippi, the law as to beneficiary was changed in 2020. The law now states that ex-spouses can’t be the beneficiary of a will, financial accounts or life insurance unless certain criterion is met. Why such a law? For an example, man marries first wife. He named her the beneficiary on his life insurance policy. He divorces her, and he never changes the policy beneficiary. He marries second wife and has children. He never changes the policy. He dies. Take a guess who receives the money? The first wife of course. The insurance company has a contractual duty to pay the listed beneficiary.

The problem with this law is there may be the intent to leave the ex-spouse as a beneficiary. A person may leave his ex-spouse as the beneficiary of an insurance policy to assist with the loss of child support or alimony to that ex-spouse. The person may desire the ex-spouse to receive something in the will. If this happens in Mississippi and in some other states, the law requires that it be stated clearly in the divorce decree or the insurance policy. Conditions have to be met in order for the ex-spouse to legally be the beneficiary.

So make sure the beneficiary is correct and ensure you have the person that you intend to receive the benefit.