Q: Can I name someone other than a relative as the beneficiary of my life insurance policy?
Although it is typical for an individual to name his or her spouse, child, parent, or other relative as the life insurance beneficiary, non-relatives can also be named. For instance, you can designate your estate, trust, business partner, lender, or domestic partner as beneficiary of your life insurance policy. Check the laws in your state, though. A few states require that under certain circumstances an unrelated beneficiary have an insurable interest. An insurable interest exists when one party has a financial interest in another party's life. The beneficiary of a life insurance policy must expect to suffer a financial loss if the insured dies.
Before designating a beneficiary, you should also make sure that you understand all of the tax implications. Life insurance proceeds are generally not income taxable, but there may be other considerations. For example, naming your estate as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy will increase the size of your estate and may necessitate probate and create an estate tax liability. Consult with an attorney or accountant for more information.