An important aspect of your life insurance and retirement benefits is the payment of benefits to your named beneficiary or beneficiaries. Death benefits will be payable to the most current named beneficiary or beneficiaries on file with UNO, TIAA and/or Fidelity. Beneficiary designations are generally payable immediately after death and override a will. Your assets will not have to go through probate – a legal proceeding that can be expensive – so you need to ensure that your beneficiary designations reflect your most recent wishes.
You can update your life insurance beneficiary designations any time you experience a major life event – marriage, civil union, divorce, dissolution of a civil union or domestic partnership, birth or adoption of a child, or the death of a spouse/partner, child, or parent – by going to Firefly - Employee Self Service (firefly.nebraska.edu).
The primary beneficiary or beneficiaries inherit first. If they are dead or they die with you, your assets will go to any secondary (contingent) beneficiaries you have named. You will determine, by name, your primary and secondary beneficiaries, along with a percentage of your assets to go to each. Beneficiaries can include spouse, children and other relatives. They can also include friends, trusts, charities and institutions.
Items to Consider While Determining Your Beneficiary Designations
- To whom and in what amount do you wish your benefits to be paid?
- Are there special needs or provisions you should consider in your designation?
- Be sure that you clearly state your wishes for your beneficiary designation.
Nominating a Trust as Beneficiary
You may choose to designate an established trust to receive the group life insurance and/or pension benefit. You need not provide a copy of the trust with your Designation of Beneficiary form, but upon your death, we will request a copy from the trustee.
If you elect to nominate a trust as beneficiary, you must provide:
- the name and date of the trust and,
- the name and address of the trustee to contact upon your death.
Nominating a Minor as Beneficiary
If you name a minor as beneficiary for the group life insurance and/or pension benefit, there may be some restrictions about how the benefit is paid. Because a death benefit cannot be paid to a minor, payment would go instead to the minor’s guardian. You may, however, choose to leave the group life insurance and/or pension benefit to a trust established on behalf of a minor.
A formal trust is established through legal documents filed with your county court that designates a person or persons as "Trustee". When designating a formal trust on behalf of a minor beneficiary, you must clearly state "Formal Trust" on behalf of the minor and include the date of trust incorporation. For example: "John Taylor, Formal Trustee for Joshua Taylor, under the terms of the trust agreement dated January 1, 1993."
An informal trust is one that has not been filed with the courts on behalf of the minor. The informal trustee(s) would be paid the specified benefits on behalf of the minor beneficiary. For example: "Jane Miller, Informal Trustee for June Doe, daughter." June Doe is the beneficiary but since she is a minor, Jane Miller would receive the benefits on June's behalf.
Be sure to include:
- the minor's relationship to you, not to the trustee,
- the minor's address and birth date, and
- the informal trustee's address – where to contact them upon your death.
The person(s) you designate as trustee(s) will assume all rights and privileges to the benefits that are paid and UNO will not be held responsible for any mishandling of the benefits.
If you wish to specify an unequal distribution among beneficiaries, you may indicate a percentage or a fraction next to the person's name.
Percentages must add up to 100%. For example: "Mary Smith, sister, 70%; Thomas Jones, brother, 30%" (70% + 30% = 100%)
Fractions must add up to one. For example: "Joe Jones, son, ¼; Jim Jones, son, ¼; Patty Smith, daughter, ½" (¼ + ¼ + ½ = 1)
Definite Dollar Amounts
You may list a definite dollar amount for a beneficiary, but a beneficiary must be named to receive the remaining balance. For example: "Bob Smith, brother, $10,000; Joe Smith, son, the remaining balance."
This is a designation that you can use when you are naming your children or grandchildren as a beneficiary. This designation means that if one of your children was not living at the time the benefit was paid, their share would then be payable to their children.
For example: You named four children as beneficiaries but only three children were living at the time that the benefit was payable. If you had indicated per stirpes the benefit would still be divided four ways and the deceased child’s children, if any, would receive their benefit. If you had not indicated per stirpes the benefit would be divided three ways among the surviving children.
The university provides term life insurance coverage through the Assurity Life Insurance Company. It is equal to one times your annual budgeted salary up to a maximum of $120,000 and rounded up to the nearest $100.
This coverage is payable in the event of your death, thus giving your family or beneficiary financial protection. Life Insurance beneficiaries also cover any voluntary Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance you have elected.Go to firefly.nebraska.edu and in the Employee Self Service area, you can view and/or update your beneficiary selections.
You may update the beneficiary designations on your retirement plan(s) online with TIAA or Fidelity.
Spousal consent to name someone besides your spouse as the primary beneficiary is not required in Nebraska, but is necessary in Iowa.
View a list of all states and their requirements regarding spousal consent
The primary beneficiary for these coverages is always the employee, although you may also set up a secondary beneficiary. In the case of a joint accident involving the employee and spouse, the money will be payable to the estate.
To designate a secondary beneficiary, contact your campus benefits office at 402.554.3660 or 402.554.2465.