FAQs: What Is a Contingent Beneficiary?

  • Estate Planning
FAQs: What Is a Contingent Beneficiary? | Mario Godoy | Lombard Estate Planning Lawyer

Beneficiary designation is an important part of estate planning. When you designate your primary beneficiaries as part of your estate planning, you are identifying one or more persons who will receive that asset after your death. If your beneficiary dies before you do, or cannot be found, then your asset is considered intestate. A contingent beneficiary

2 Levels of Beneficiaries

Comprehensive estate plans should name two levels of beneficiaries, primary beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries. The first person who stands to benefit from the plan is the primary beneficiary. This person has first claim on any benefits that may result from the maturity of the plan. The secondary beneficiary, or contingent beneficiary, can be another person or a charity you wish to gift your assets to.

If you do not name a contingent beneficiary for a trust, insurance policy, pension, or retirement plan, and the primary beneficiary predeceases you, on your death the benefits will likely be paid according to Illinois intestacy laws. Not having a contingent beneficiary designation is a costly but preventable mistake.

Beneficiary designations make the process of transferring assets after death faster and easier for everyone involved, and making a mistake can cause annoying and expensive problems that an attorney might not be able to fix. Avoid issues with your beneficiary designations in Lombard by contacting Estate & Probate Legal Group in Lombard Illinois today at 630-800-0112.