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AAFMAA Resources

Take Care of Your Survivors: Review Your Beneficiary Designations Regularly

2019-03-19

You became an AAFMAA Member to secure your financial future for you and your military family — and AAFMAA makes that possible by including our unique Survivor Assistance Services with every AAFMAA Life Insurance policy. However, for us to properly care for your survivors, you must do your part.

Review your beneficiary designations.

If you haven’t reviewed your beneficiary designation in a while, it’s time to do so now — and to set a calendar reminder to review them every year. When reviewing your beneficiary designations, ensure they haven’t changed because of life’s circumstances such as marriage, death, or other changes in family status. Keep in mind that a divorce or annulment may revoke a beneficiary designation in some states. So, if you still want your former spouse to receive your death benefit (or need to as a result of the divorce decree), you should designate them as a “former spouse.” 

Checking your beneficiary designations is simple. You can see them listed at the bottom of every life insurance policy annual statement. To access yours at any time, simply log into the AAFMAA Member Center and click on “My Documents.” Annual Statements for policies you own are under the “Insurance Documents” tab, beginning with the most recent one at the top of the list.

Understand primary and contingent beneficiaries.

Your primary beneficiary is who will receive your death benefit first. If you have multiple primary beneficiaries, AAFMAA will pay the proceeds to them according to your designation. If any of your primary beneficiaries pre-decease you, their share is divided among the other primary beneficiaries, unless you opted for a per-stirpes designation. With a per-stirpes designation, the deceased beneficiary’s share passes down to his or her survivors. If there are no living primary beneficiaries when you die, then AAFMAA will pay the proceeds to the contingent beneficiaries as described above. If there are no contingent beneficiaries, then the proceeds go to your estate.

Common disasters.

You can also opt for a common disaster clause in your AAFMAA policy, which requires the primary beneficiary to survive the insured by a specified period (up to 30 days) in order to receive the policy proceeds. Otherwise, we will pay the policy proceeds as though the primary beneficiary died before the insured. This way, if a beneficiary dies with the insured as a result of a common disaster, that beneficiary’s proceeds wouldn’t go to his or her estate, but rather would flow to the other primary beneficiaries or the contingent beneficiaries, as applicable.

Beneficiary contact information.

In order for AAFMAA to help your survivors, we must be able to contact them. If you have not provided AAFMAA with this information for your beneficiaries, please do so now. You can download our Beneficiary Designation Form, which includes a page for beneficiary contact information.

Survivor Assistance Services is the heart of AAFMAA. We have provided superlative personal service and care to military, families, and survivors for more than 140 years and will care for your survivors the same way. It is our honor to serve you, our Members.