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Beneficiary Change

Correctly naming a beneficiary for your life insurance and retirement is important. It determines who will receive your policy benefits upon your death. Under current tax law, life insurance benefits paid to a beneficiary are not taxable income. Employees are encouraged to review beneficiary designations on an annual basis or following a Qualifying Life Event.

Life Insurance and Retirement Beneficiary Review

Common Terms

Primary Beneficiary: The person or persons that will receive your policy benefits.

Contingent Beneficiary: If the primary beneficiary/beneficiaries are no longer living, benefits are paid to this person or persons.

Default Beneficiary: If the policy holder does not name a beneficiary, benefits are paid in the order outlined in the policy:

  • to a spouse, if living, if not;
  • to child(ren), if living, if not;
  • to parent(s), if living, if not;
  • to siblings, if living, if not;
  • to their estate.

To update your life insurance beneficiary information

To update your retirement beneficiary information:

  • Go online to TIAA

Note: West Virginia State Law states that a funeral home cannot be name beneficiary of life insurance. State law also prevents the direct payment of life insurance benefits to minor children. If a minor child is named as a beneficiary for less than $10,000 of benefit, that amount can be transferred to the adult guardian. If the amount is over $10,000, the proceeds can be held with interest until the minor reaches legal age or the funds can be distributed to a person with certified letters of guardianship for the minor’s estate.


PEIA 1-888-680-7342

MetLife Life Insurance 1-888-466-8640

TIAA 1-800-842-2252