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Change Beneficiaries

By enrolling in IU insurance, savings, and retirement plans, you’ve already taken an important step to provide future financial security for your loved ones. But one step that is often neglected is designating a beneficiary. By periodically reviewing your beneficiary designations, and updating them as your circumstances change, you can rest assured that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes.

Avoid Common Mistakes

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

What is a beneficiary?

A beneficiary is the person(s) or organization(s) who will receive the proceeds from your plans in the event of your death.

When to Update Your Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries can be changed as often as you like. You should review your beneficiaries at least once per year, and consider updating them when you experience a major life event (such as marriage or birth of a child) or when you update your will or estate.

How to Update Your Beneficiaries

You must designate beneficiaries for each of your benefit plans and each retirement account separately. In some cases, you can change beneficiaries with IU, while in other cases you must work with the vendor directly:

Update with IU through the Employee Center:

  • Basic Life Insurance
  • Supplemental Life Insurance
  • Supplemental AD&D

Update directly with the vendor:

  • Health Savings Account (HSA)
  • Retirement Plans
    • IU Retirement Plan
    • IU Retirement & Savings Plan 
    • Public Employees’ Retirement Fund (PERF)
    • IUSERP
    • IU Tax Deferred Account (TDA)
    • IU 457(b)

Select a plan below for step-by-step instructions to make your beneficiary designations.

Life and Supplemental AD&D Insurance

Beneficiary designations for your IU-sponsored Basic Life, Supplemental Life, and Supplemental AD&D plans can be made online or by submitting a paper form. You must name beneficiaries for each of these plans separately. Please do not submit the same changes using both methods (online and paper). This will cause delays in processing your request.

Online Instructions

Submit an Optional Benefit Change through the Employee Center.

Paper Form Instructions

Complete the paper beneficiary designation form and submit it to IU Human Resources to the email or postal address listed on the form.

Retirement Plans

Retirement plan beneficiaries are managed directly with the vendor where your assets are held. Remember, you must select beneficiaries for each of your retirement accounts, and at each vendor, separately.

Example #1: Jane is enrolled in the base retirement plan for Non-Exempt Staff (the IU Retirement & Savings Plan). After five years, she is promoted to a Exempt Staff position, and is moved to the base retirement plan for Academic & Exempt Staff (the IU Retirement Plan). Even though these are both considered a “base retirement plan”, they are separate plans and accounts, therefore Jane must designate her beneficiaries for each account separately. 

Example #2: Jane is also enrolled in a supplemental retirement plan, the IU TDA. She has assets from this plan at Fidelity and TIAA, therefore she must designate her beneficiaries for her IU TDA plan account at Fidelity and at TIAA separately.

Fidelity Investments

  1. Login to Netbenefits.com/Indiana
  2. Select Accounts & Benefits under the IU logo
  3. Select Update your beneficiaries
  4. Click the gray Edit button next to the plan you wish to make changes for
  5. Add new beneficiaries or make changes to your current beneficiary’s personal information:
    1. Select the blue Add a Primary Beneficiary button to add a new beneficiary
    2. Select Edit next to the beneficiary you wish to make changes to
  6. Select the Yes/No button to apply the beneficiary settings to all of your eligible plans
  7. If applicable, repeat steps 4–6 for each plan account
  8. Once you have made all of your desired changes scroll down and select the blue Save All button to submit your changes.
  9. For assistance, call Fidelity at 800-343-0860

TIAA

  1. Login to TIAA
  2. Select the Actions tab at the top of the page
  3. Click the Beneficiaries button under Top Actions
  4. Click the Add New button to add a new beneficiary
  5. Click the Edit Existing button to edit an existing beneficiary
  6. Click the Action button next to the plan you wish to make changes for
  7. Select Add Beneficiaries or Change Allocations
    1. Click the button to Add Beneficiary (if applicable)
    2. Select the Beneficiary Type (Primary or Contingent) for each beneficiary
    3. Enter the Allocation Percentage for each beneficiary
  8. Click Next
  9. Review and click the I agree radio button
  10. Click Submit
  11. Click Done
  12. If applicable, repeat steps 6–11 for each plan account
  13. For assistance, call TIAA at 800-842-2252

Public Employees’ Retirement Fund (PERF)

For employees enrolled in PERF, you must update your beneficiaries directly with Indiana Public Retirement System (INPRS). You can log in to the PERF website and follow the “Personal Info” link, or call INPRS at 844-GO-INPRS.

Health Savings Account

For the Health Savings Account (HSA), change your beneficiary information online directly with Nyhart under your member profile page.

  • Log in to iu.nyhart.com
  • Select Your Balances
  • Select Accounts
  • Under the Profile section, click on Profile Summary
  • Go to the Beneficiaries section and click on Add Beneficiary
  • For assistance, contact Nyhart at or 800-284-8412

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?

Most policies and plans require the following information for each person you wish to name a beneficiary: legal name, relationship to you (spouse, child, mother, etc.), and date of birth. While not always required, some designations also ask for additional information such as mailing address, email, phone number, or Social Security number. It helps to provide as much information as possible, and to keep that information up to date, to assist the vendor in locating or identifying the beneficiary.

It’s important to note that while not always required to name a beneficiary, most policies, vendors, and banks will require the beneficiary to provide a valid SSN at the time funds are distributed to verify their identity and/or for taxation purposes.

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. 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.

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.