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Q&A: Including Churches as Insurance Beneficiaries

Can a church be named as a beneficiary under a life insurance policy?

A member of our church has asked if he can purchase a life insurance policy on his life and name our church as a beneficiary. He plans on naming his wife as the primary beneficiary, but would like to name our church as the alternate beneficiary in the event that his wife dies before he does. So, the basic question is whether it is legal for a church to be named as a beneficiary under a member's life insurance policy?

Yes, a member can name a church as a primary or alternate beneficiary under a life insurance policy. Here are several points to consider:

  • There are several ways for church members to make gifts to their church using life insurance, but naming the church as a primary or alternate beneficiary is the simplest. The member continues to own the policy, and pay the premiums, and fills out a "change of beneficiary" form that names the church as a beneficiary.
  • In some cases, a member may want to name the church?as the sole beneficiary. This can be a way for a member to make a much larger gift to his or her church than would otherwise be possible. This can be as simple as purchasing a term insurance policy online, naming the church as the sole beneficiary. Some members have made substantial donations to their church at the time of death by using this option, at a relatively modest cost.

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Posted:
  • April 1, 2011

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