Beneficiary Designations Information
for WWU Faculty and Staff


What is a Beneficiary?

A beneficiary is a person or legal entity that is entitled to receive the proceeds from an estate, trust, retirement account, life insurance policy, or transfer on death accounts. A beneficiary can be one or more individuals or organizations, such as a trust or charity. You can designate two types of beneficiaries:

  • Primary beneficiaries are first in line to receive the assets you designate to be distributed upon your death.
  • Secondary (or contingent) beneficiaries receive the asset if there are no surviving primary beneficiaries upon your death.

 


Importance of Beneficiary Designations

Named beneficiaries on insurance policies and retirement accounts generally supersede instructions in wills which is why it is important to file and keep your beneficiary designations up to date. By periodically reviewing your beneficiary designations for your WWU benefit plans, personal insurance plans, and other financial accounts, you can rest assured that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes. Review Your Beneficiary Designations

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Review and update your beneficiaries when:

  • You experience a major life event such as a birth, marriage, dissolution of marriage or domestic partnership, or death in the family.
  • You update your will or estate plan. Consult with your legal advisor when you create a will to make sure that you understand whether the beneficiary designations you make on insurance plans or financial accounts are affected by your will.
  • You roll over a 401(k) or Individual Retirement Account (IRA).
  • You receive a beneficiary verification notice.

Keep copies of your beneficiary designation forms. If you do not have copies of your current beneficiary designations, request copies from your account providers or complete a new beneficiary designation form—see instructions below.

Since the designations you make can override your will, we recommend you consult with a legal advisor and/or an estate planning professional before you make changes.

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Life Insurance Beneficiaries

All eligible WWU employees are covered for $25,000 of employer-provided life insurance and $5,000 AD&D insurance (under Part A should have designated their beneficiaries at the time of enrollment. Consider the following:

  • If you wish to name someone other than your spouse or domestic partner as beneficiary, if you have special estate planning needs, or if you wish to assign ownership of your life insurance to another person, seek legal and tax advice before completing your beneficiary designation.
  • If your marriage or domestic partnership dissolves, review your beneficiary designations to determine whether you need to make changes.
  • If your beneficiary is a minor (under age 18), you may wish to consult with a legal advisor to ensure you understand how to best protect the rights of your minor beneficiary.

Employee death benefits are paid to the most recent beneficiary designation on file with the Benefits Office.

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Health Savings Account Beneficiaries

Log into your member portal at www.healthequity.com, choose "My Profile" and follow the online instructions. Keep a copy of the completed form for your records.

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Life Insurance Policy Beneficiary Designations

  1. To update your beneficiary designation(s) through the Public Employees' Benefits Board (PEBB), refer to the Suggested Beneficiary Designations section of the PEBB Life Insurance Enrollment Plan Book.
  2. Download, complete, and sign the PEBB Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation Request Form Number 7384v (the first form listed here).
  3. Return it to the WWU Benefits Office, MS 9054.
  4. Keep a copy of the completed form for your records.

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WWU Retirement Plan (WWURP) and/or
Voluntary Investment Program (VIP) Beneficiary Designations

Fidelity Investments (Master Administrator)

Fidelity's Online Beneficiaries Service, available through NetBenefits®, offers a straightforward, convenient process that takes just minutes to complete. Simply click on "Beneficiaries" in the "About You" section of Your Profile within NetBenefits®. Keep a copy of the completed form for your records.

TIAA-CREF (For annuities)

Log into your account at www.tiaa-cref.org/wwu and follow the online instructions. Keep a copy of the completed form for your records.

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Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) Beneficiary Designations

PERS, TRS, or LEOFF Plans

To update your beneficiary designation(s) through the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) for PERS, TRS, or LEOFF retirement plans, download, complete, and sign the DRS Member/Retiree Beneficiary Designation form. Return the form to DRS (address shown on the form). Keep a copy of the completed form for your records.

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Washington State Deferred Compensation Program (WSDCP) Beneficiary Designations

If you participate in the WSDCP plan through the DRS, download, complete, and sign the WSDCP Beneficiary Designation form. Return the form to DRS (address shown on the form). Keep a copy of the completed form for your records.

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Resources

Changing Your Health Care Coverage Due to a Qualifying Life Event

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Page Updated 01.09.2014