What is the proper way to name a living trust as beneficiary of a life insurance policy?

Asked on November 4, 2011 under Estate Planning, Georgia


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You are trying to do some estate planning here which is admirable. While it is perfectly legal to name a trust as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy - which is often how the trust is funded at the time of death - there are some simple basics that need to be followed.  First, understand that the trust must be a valid trust and must be in existence at the time of your death.  A living trust is created while you are alive and proceeds from the policy that name the trust avoid probate entirely.  If the living trust is revoked prior to death then the insurance company will not honor the designation.  Thus, if you do not name a contingent beneficiary the proceeds will become part of the probate estate.  So just list on the beneficiary designation form "The John/Jane Doe Trust" or what ever you call the trust.  Good luck. 

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