Beneficiary Designations

Anytime you start a new job, you fill out the necessary paperwork for your retirement account, and life insurance policy. This includes listing the beneficiary, or beneficiaries, of each. But, you may not have a full understanding of what that means. Learn more about this important choice.

Q. What is a beneficiary designation?
A. Beneficiaries are the people and/or organization(s) that you designate to receive an asset (such as a retirement plan or life insurance policy) following your passing.

Q. Won’t my will take care of distributing my retirement plan assets and life insurance?
A. No. These assets pass outside of your will. To make sure they go to the right people and places, be sure to let your beneficiaries know that you’ve named them.

Q. Can I change my beneficiaries?
A. Yes. You can update your beneficiaries at any time. Simply request a change-of-beneficiary form from your plan administrator (or download a copy from their website).

Q. How often should I review my beneficiaries?
A. You should review your beneficiaries regularly. However, life events such as marriage, the birth of a child, or the loss of a loved one should trigger an additional review.

Naming Beneficiaries in 3 Easy Steps

Not everyone wants to commit to making a gift in their wills or estates. Some prefer the increased flexibility that a beneficiary designation provides by using:

  • IRAs and retirement plans
  • Life insurance policies
  • Donor-advised funds
  • Commercial annuities
  • Bank and brokerage accounts

It only takes three simple steps to make this type of gift. Here’s how to name Michigan Hillel as a beneficiary:

  1. Contact the administrator of your retirement plan, insurance policy, bank or brokerage account or donor-advised fund for a change-of-beneficiary form or simply download a form from your provider’s website.
  2. Decide what percentage (1 to 100) you would like us to receive and name us, along with the percentage you chose, on the beneficiary form.
  3. Return the completed form to your plan administrator, insurance company, bank or financial institution.

Take the Next Step

If you’ve decided to support Michigan Hillel by naming us as a beneficiary of your retirement plan assets or life insurance, please let us know by contacting Stacy at 734-769-0500 or It would be our honor to thank you and ensure your gift is used as you intend.