financial planner Stephen Zelcer

Q&A – Can I name my child as beneficiary of my life insurance (FEGLI) and TSP?

can I name my child as beneficiary to my life insurance?

Q&A – Can I name my child as beneficiary of my life insurance (FEGLI) and TSP?


Hi Stephen,

My husband & I plan to list each other as the beneficiaries of our life insurance policies.  However, what if something happens to both of us? Should we list our daughter – she’s only 2 right now? 
Also, can I change my beneficiary in the future?




Your last question – can I change my beneficiary in the future – is easier to answer, so I’ll start with that.  Yes, you can update your beneficiary form at any time in the future.

Regarding naming you daughter as a beneficiary, that’s not so simple.  Although you could name your daughter as a “contingent” beneficiary, however the insurance company cannot legally give the money to a minor.  
You will need to name a custodian, or trust, or conservatorship to receive and control the assets while your daughter is a minor.  

Ask yourself who would take care of your daughter if both parents passed?  Whoever you think of can be the “custodian,” and you may want to name them as the “contingent” instead of your daughter.  Of course, if that person is financially irresponsible, then you may want to name someone else to manage the money.

Alternately, you can create a trust or conservatorship to hold the life insurance proceeds. 

A similar challenge arises with your TSP, but there’s one difference – the TSP can pay the money to the minor child.  Nonetheless, your child practically can’t do anything with that money while they’re minor, so you’ll need a custodian, trust or conservatorship anyway.

These kinds of decisions are part of an estate plan and should be discussed with an estate planning attorney.    


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