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Beneficiary Basics

In most cases, you can now designate a beneficiary through your MyGuideStone account. If you are unable to do so for any reason, the following forms may be completed and submitted instead:

If you need help with these forms or the designation feature through your online account, please call Customer Solutions. Before you call, the following may address your questions on the designation process:

What if I already designated a beneficiary but do not see this through my account online?

The online tool became available at the beginning of 2014. If you already had a designation with GuideStone, it may still be valid.  At the event of your death, our records will be searched for your most up-to-date, valid designation.  Still, it’s always a good idea to periodically update your designation(s) with GuideStone especially if your situation has changed. 

What if my beneficiary is deceased at the time of my death?

Your primary beneficiary is first in line to receive your benefits.  If your primary beneficiary pre-deceases you, your secondary beneficiaries will receive the funds.  If no secondary beneficiary remains, the assets will be paid out according to the plan.

If you name more than one primary or secondary beneficiary, and one of them predeceases you, GuideStone will divide the benefits among the remaining primary or secondary beneficiaries.  This arrangement is referred to as "per capita.”  Alternatively, to indicate that a beneficiary’s portion should pass to his or her children if the beneficiary predeceases you, enter the words "per stirpes" next to their name.

How can I most evenly designate 3 beneficiaries?

In this case, you may designate to the fourth decimal place.  For example, you may indicate each of your beneficiaries receives 33.3333%.  One beneficiary must have 33.3334% in this instance based on the system processing requirement that a designation totals 100%.   

How do I designate a current or past employer as a beneficiary?

You may designate a current or former employer but must indicate a specific fund such as a building or endowment fund of that employer. You may name any other non-profit organization as beneficiary. You must provide the full legal name, address and tax identification number of the non-profit organization. 

How do I designate a minor as a beneficiary?

You may designate a minor as beneficiary although GuideStone cannot pay a death benefit directly to the minor. Instead, a probate court generally appoints a guardian to receive and administer the death benefits on the minor’s behalf.  When designating a minor as your beneficiary, do not enter the name of a guardian. Ideally, you would provide for a minor by naming a testamentary trust established in your will as beneficiary.

What happens if I designate a trust?

Using a trust as a beneficiary of a retirement plan may have some unexpected consequences at your death. Unless your trust meets certain qualifications, your trust will not be considered a designated beneficiary for purposes of required minimum distributions. This means that payment options available to your trust may be limited. The person creating your trust should provide you with information concerning whether or not your trust meets the qualifications to be considered a designated beneficiary for required minimum distributions.

What happens if I designate my estate?

You should exercise caution when selecting your estate as a beneficiary.  Doing so may unnecessarily subject your assets to probate fees, eliminate certain tax deferral advantages, and delay the distribution process.  In addition, the decision of who receives these assets is taken out of your hands and subject to probate judgments.

What if I divorce or remarry?

If you divorce after naming your spouse as beneficiary, you must complete a new designation for any retirement plans.  This is the case even if your divorce decree orders you to maintain your former spouse as beneficiary.  A divorce also nullifies your prior designation for retirement plans.  You should also review your designations for your insurance plans after a major life event like a divorce or remarriage because similar rules may apply. 

What about my IRA or Personal Investment account?

Currently, beneficiaries cannot be designated for your IRA or Personal Investment account through your MyGuideStone account.  To designate a beneficiary on any IRA or Personal Investment accounts with GuideStone, please call Customer Solutions for assistance.

Why must I obtain consent to name someone other than my spouse as a primary beneficiary?

Many retirement plans require your spouse’s authorization to designate a non-spouse as a primary beneficiary.  After you obtain notarized spousal consent, you will need to submit that form to GuideStone.  

What if my Power of Attorney is a beneficiary?

An attorney-in-fact under a Power of Attorney cannot name himself or herself as beneficiary at a percentage greater than he or she was named on the prior designation filed with GuideStone.

I was unable to use the online designation tool and submitted a paper form. How do I confirm this?

Only those designations submitted through your MyGuideStone account are viewable within your online account.  If you would like to confirm a paper form designation, you should call Customer Solutions for assistance.

Why should I designate a beneficiary for my account with GuideStone?

A beneficiary is a person or entity that will receive any retirement funds and/or insurance claims in the event of your death.  Your GuideStone designation trumps any inheritance details indicated in your will. Additionally, to ensure that the appropriate people or entities are listed at the time of your passing, it is recommended that you review your beneficiary designation after any major life event such as a change in marital status or the passing of a current beneficiary. To learn more about helping your family prepare, read this article.