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Change Beneficiaries

It is important to keep your beneficiary designations up to date because named beneficiaries on insurance policies and retirement plans usually supersede instructions in wills. By periodically reviewing your beneficiary designations for your IU-sponsored benefit plans, you can rest assured that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes. It is always a good idea to review beneficiaries and your other personal and financial accounts, too.

Change a Beneficiary

Generally, you can review and update your beneficiary designations by contacting the company or organization that provides your plan. In some cases, you can change beneficiaries with IU, while in other cases you have to contact the vendor directly to make a change. Use the information below to determine the steps you need to take to make changes.

It is important to know that you must change beneficiaries for each plan separately. For example, employees who elect a supplemental retirement plan will have to name beneficiaries for the base retirement plan and the supplemental retirement plan.

Did You Know?

  • There are specific laws regarding the payment of benefits to minor children. Before listing your minor child(ren) as beneficiaries, you should consult your legal advisor to determine the best way to accomplish this under state law.

Life Insurance

For Basic Life, Supplemental Life, and Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), complete your beneficiary change through the Employee Center in One.IU. Select “Benefits” to get started. Alternatively, you can complete a paper beneficiary change form for each plan and return it to IU Human Resources.

IU-sponsored Retirement Plans

For the IU Retirement Plan (Academic and Professional employees), Retirement & Savings Plan (Support and Service employees), IU 457(b) Retirement Plan, IU Tax Deferred Account (TDA), and IU SERP, change your beneficiary information online directly with the vendor by logging into your account with Fidelity Investments or TIAA.

Each vendor will allow you to update your beneficiaries under your account profile. Remember, you will have to make changes for each retirement plan, even if all of your plans are with the same vendor.

State Sponsored Retirement Plans (PERF)

For employees enrolled in PERF, you must update your beneficiaries directly with PERF. You can visit the PERF website and use the “Personal Info” link to make changes.  

Health Savings Account

For the health savings account (HSA), change your beneficiary information online directly with Nyhart under your member profile page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a beneficiary?

A beneficiary is a person or legal entity that is entitled to receive the proceeds from an estate, trust, retirement account, life insurance policy, or transfer on death accounts. A beneficiary can be one or more individuals or organizations. You can designate two types of beneficiaries:

  • Primary beneficiaries are first in line to receive the designated asset upon your death
  • Secondary (or contingent) beneficiaries receive the asset if there are no surviving primary beneficiaries upon your death

When should I review my beneficiaries?

Review and consider updating your beneficiaries when you:

  • Experience a major life event such as a birth, marriage, dissolution of marriage, or death in the family
  • Update your will or estate plan
  • Receive a beneficiary verification notice

You may want to keep copies of your beneficiary designation forms for your records. If you do not have copies of your current beneficiary designations, request copies from your account providers.

What identifying information do I need for each beneficiary?

You will need to have the following information available for each of your beneficiaries: legal name, address, date of birth, and relationship to you. While you are not required to list your beneficiary’s Social Security Number (SSN), it is recommended that you submit it if available. The benefit of giving the vendor the beneficiary's SSN is that it may make it easier to identify or locate the beneficiary. If the beneficiary moves, for example, the vendor may not be able to reach the beneficiary at the address you provided. If the beneficiary tries to make a claim and the address does not match the information on file, then the vendor may want additional information to verify the identity of the beneficiary.

Should I seek legal advice?

Because the beneficiary designations you make can override your will, we recommend you consult with a legal advisor or an estate planning professional before you make changes.

When you designate a beneficiary, seek legal and tax advice if:

  • You wish to name someone other than your spouse or partner as a beneficiary.
  • You have special estate planning needs.
  • You want to assign ownership of your life insurance to another person.
  • Your beneficiary is a minor who needs legal protection. If a minor child is designated as a beneficiary, you may wish to establish a guardianship or trust, as children cannot access life insurance funds paid under this plan until age 18.

Consult with a legal advisor to make sure you understand whether the beneficiary designations you make on insurance plans or financial accounts are affected by your will.