A beneficiary is the person or organization who receives assets that are held in your name in a retirement plan, or are paid on your behalf by an insurance company, after your death.
If you have established a trust, the beneficiary you name receives the assets of the trust.
A life insurance policy pays your beneficiary the face value of your policy minus any loans you haven't repaid when you die. An annuity contract pays the beneficiary the accumulated assets as dictated by the terms of the contract.
A retirement plan, such as an IRA or 401(k), pays your beneficiary the value of the accumulated assets or requires the beneficiary to withdraw assets either as a lump sum or over a period of time, depending on the plan. Some retirement plans require that you name your spouse as beneficiary or obtain written permission to name someone else.
You may name any person or institution - or several people and institutions - as beneficiary or contingent beneficiary of a trust, a retirement plan, annuity contract, or life insurance policy. A contingent beneficiary is one who inherits the assets if the primary beneficiary has died or chooses not to accept them.
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- Annuitant, Contingent beneficiary, Funds Receivable, Income in respect of a decedent, Inherited IRA, Pension maximization, Per capita, Per stirpes, Refund
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