Skip navigation - Jump to main content

Beneficiary Designations
Information for UW faculty and staff

UNDERSTAND

This page describes what a beneficiary is, why it is important to keep beneficiary designations up to date, and how to change your beneficiary designation.

What is a Beneficiary?

A beneficiary is a person or legal entity that is entitled to receive the proceeds from an estate, trust, retirement account, life insurance policy, or transfer on death accounts. A beneficiary can be one or more individuals or organizations, such as a trust or charity. You can designate two types of beneficiaries:

Importance of Beneficiary Designations

Named beneficiaries on insurance policies and retirement accounts generally supersede instructions in wills which is why it is important to file and keep your beneficiary designations up to date. By periodically reviewing your beneficiary designations for your UW benefit plans, personal insurance plans, and other financial accounts, you can rest assured that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes.

Review Your Beneficiary Designations

Review and update your beneficiaries when:

Keep copies of your beneficiary designation forms. If you do not have copies of your current beneficiary designations, request copies from your account providers or complete a new beneficiary designation form—see instructions below.

Since the designations you make can override your will, we recommend you consult with a legal advisor and/or an estate planning professional before you make changes.

Life Insurance Beneficiaries

All eligible UW employees are covered for $25,000 of employer-provided life insurance and $5,000 AD&D insurance (under Part A should have designated their beneficiaries at the time of enrollment. Consider the following:

Employee death benefits are paid to the most recent beneficiary designation on file with the Benefits Office.

ACT

Health Savings Account Beneficiaries

Log into your member portal at www.healthequity.com, choose "My Profile" and follow the online instructions. Keep a copy of the completed form for your records.

Life Insurance Policy Beneficiary Designations

  1. To update your beneficiary designation(s) through the Public Employees' Benefits Board (PEBB), refer to the Suggested Beneficiary Designations section of the PEBB Life Insurance Enrollment Plan Book.
  2. Download, complete, and sign the PEBB Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation Request Form Number 7384v (the first form listed here).
  3. Return it to the UW Benefits Office, Box 359556.
  4. Keep a copy of the completed form for your records.

UW Retirement Plan (UWRP) and/or Voluntary Investment Program (VIP) Beneficiary Designations

Fidelity Investments (Master Administrator)

Fidelity's Online Beneficiaries Service, available through NetBenefits®, offers a straightforward, convenient process that takes just minutes to complete. Simply click on "Beneficiaries" in the "About You" section of Your Profile within NetBenefits®. Keep a copy of the completed form for your records.

TIAA-CREF (For annuities)

Log into your account at www.tiaa-cref.org/washington and follow the online instructions. Keep a copy of the completed form for your records.

Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) Beneficiary Designations

PERS, TRS, or LEOFF Plans

To update your beneficiary designation(s) through the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) for PERS, TRS, or LEOFF retirement plans, download, complete, and sign the DRS Member/Retiree Beneficiary Designation form. Return the form to DRS (address shown on the form). Keep a copy of the completed form for your records.

Washington State Deferred Compensation Program (WSDCP) Beneficiary Designations

If you participate in the WSDCP plan through the DRS, download, complete, and sign the WSDCP Beneficiary Designation form. Return the form to DRS (address shown on the form). Keep a copy of the completed form for your records.

RESOURCES

Changing Your Health Care Coverage Due to a Qualifying Life Event


Disclaimer: The University provides educational information and tools to help you make choices that suit your individual goals. The University cannot provide investment advice to employees. Consider consulting an independent legal or tax advisor for specific legal or tax advice about your personal situation.