Can I take a life insurance policy and name someone else other than my wife as beneficiary?

I have a close friend that I have known for several years. I want to make sure she is well taken care of if I die. Can I take out a life insurance policy and name her the beneficiary?

Asked on July 6, 2016 under Family Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Most people name their spouses as insurance beneficiaries. However, in most states you do not have to; you can name whoever you chooes (although better not to name a minor; there are special rules for that). That having been said, if you live in a community property state and want to name someone else, you'll need to get your spouse’s written consent. The reason is that if you buy a life insurance policy with community funds (i.e. your wages, then it belongs to both you and your spouse). In these states, most of you and your spouse's assets (excepting by gift or inheritance), is community property. That means it belongs to both of you equally. And WI is a community property state. For stae specific information, you can consult directly with a local attorney.


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