By: Boonswang Law Firm

Can you have two primary beneficiaries on a life insurance policy?

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Yes. An insured should always name multiple beneficiaries on a life insurance policy.

Why do you need more than one beneficiary on your life insurance policy? Read on to find out, and if you are a beneficiary to a life insurance policy that has multiple beneficiaries, this is what you need to know about the amount of death benefit you will receive.

If you have questions about being a beneficiary when there is more than one beneficiary on a life insurance policy, call us. Our award-winning life insurance beneficiary lawyers are ready to help you get paid.

What is a Beneficiary in Life Insurance?

A beneficiary is someone who is named to receive the death benefit on a life insurance policy. Upon purchasing a life insurance policy, the insured names one or more beneficiaries who will receive the death benefit if the insured passes away while covered by the policy.

How Many Beneficiaries Can Be on a Life Insurance Policy?

There is no limit to the number of beneficiaries an insured can name on a life insurance policy. An insured has multiple options for choosing beneficiaries:

  • Primary beneficiary
  • Secondary or Contingent beneficiary
  • Co-beneficiary

What is the meaning of primary beneficiary?

The “primary beneficiary” on a life insurance policy is the first in line to receive the death benefit. Even if contingent or secondary beneficiaries are named, the primary beneficiary receives the entire death benefit if they are available to do so.

What is a contingent beneficiary designation?

A “contingent beneficiary,” also called “secondary beneficiary,” may receive the death benefit in place of the primary beneficiary if the primary beneficiary is deceased or unreachable. Listing a contingent or secondary beneficiary acts as a safeguard in case something happens to the primary beneficiary.

What is a primary and secondary beneficiary on life insurance?

The primary beneficiary is first in line to receive the death benefit. If the primary beneficiary is not available, for example, if they cannot be found or they are deceased, the secondary or contingent beneficiary is next in line to receive the death benefit.

What happens when there are two beneficiaries on a life insurance policy?

How do you split life insurance beneficiaries?

When there are multiple beneficiaries on life insurance, the life insurance company first looks to the type of beneficiary designation the insured used. A primary beneficiary is the first to receive the death benefit. If the primary beneficiary is not available for any reason, the secondary or contingent beneficiary received the death benefit.

Can You Have Two Primary Beneficiaries on Life Insurance?

Yes. If there is more than one primary beneficiary, the primary beneficiaries share the death benefit equally or in a percentage determined by the insured at the time of designation. Multiple primary beneficiaries to life insurance are also called “co-beneficiaries.”

Who You Should Never Name as Your Beneficiary to Life Insurance

Certain people should not be named directly as your beneficiary, namely, minor children and disabled people. If you want to designate a minor child or disabled person as your beneficiary, create a trust in their name and name the trust as beneficiary. This way, you avoid the involvement of the court in naming a guardian for your intended beneficiary.

You should also not name your estate as your beneficiary because then the death benefit will be subject to the claims of your creditors and may be taxable as inheritance.

Be aware also that divorce affects the life insurance beneficiary designation, depending upon where you live.

Last, avoid being general about naming beneficiaries. For example, if you designate “all of my children” as beneficiaries, who do you mean if you have children by your first marriage, step-children in your second marriage, and a natural child outside of marriage? You are potentially laying the ground for a child contesting the life insurance beneficiary on your policy if you do not designate your children by name.

Can you have multiple beneficiaries on life insurance? Can there be more than one primary beneficiary?

Yes, and it is recommended that an insured names multiple beneficiaries to ensure that someone is available to receive the death benefit.

What happens if no beneficiary is named on life insurance policy?

If the insured does not name more than one beneficiary, there is no beneficiary, and this is what happens to death benefits when a life insurance beneficiary is deceased.

Lawyer to Help with Life Insurance Beneficiary Disputes and Life Insurance Claims

Legal problems frequently arise when multiple parties claim to be the validly named beneficiary to a life insurance policy, or when the beneficiary designation is sufficiently vague to be interpreted to designate different individuals as beneficiaries.

Were you named as a beneficiary to a life insurance policy, and there are multiple beneficiaries disputing your claim? Do you think you should be a life insurance beneficiary, but the beneficiary designation is vague and being interpreted too narrowly? Was there a last-minute beneficiary change, and you want to dispute that beneficiary’s claim? Was your life insurance claim denied? Is your life insurance claim delayed?

Our life insurance beneficiary attorneys can help. Contact us for your free, no-obligation case evaluation.