How do I list the beneficiaries of my life insurance policies if I have a trust?

Life Insurance
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Let's take a step back here. There seems to be a number of things going on.

You refer to a trust. Was the trust set up to hold on to your life insurance policies? If so, then why wouldn't you make the trust the owner and beneficiary of the policies? The trustee would then disburse the proceeds according to your wishes. Why else would you set up the trust?

Let's now focus on the beneficiaries you mention. Are these people whom you want to receive the life insurance benefit? If you want them to be paid the proceeds directly, then you shouldn't have the benefit paid to the trust.

See the confusion?

Looks like there's more here than meets the eye. I think you need to think through some basic estate planning principles:

Who do you want to get your money?

How much do you want them to get?

What assets do you want to give them?

And when do you want them to get it?

These answers will help you determine how much control you want to exercise “from the grave,” so to speak, with a trust and other tools that can execute your wishes when you are gone. Once you make these decisions, it'll be easier to set the owner and beneficiary designations on your life insurance policies.

If you need further clarification, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

October 2008