Can I, as POA for my father, name myself as beneficiary on life insurance policy?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 13, 2016
Thomasb asked...

My father gave me power of attorney last Sept., since his wife left the previous June. It has come to our attention that Dad has a life insurance policy thru his pension. His wife is listed as beneficiary now, but we have sent the POA to the pension program and their legal dept. has cleared the way for us to change the beneficiary on the policy. Is it legal to put myself as beneficiary, since I have POA? I fully intend to share equally with my brother and sister, it is just that my brother is horrible with money and my sister lives too far away to be of any immediate help in the matter.

Community Answers

Lorees answered...

I had that same situation and both her life insurance company and her financial investment company told me yes, I could make myself the beneficiary.

Ca-claire answered...

Yes, I'm sure that legally, you can change the beneficiary on your Father's life insurance policy.

HOWEVER, since you mention that you have siblings, you need to be very careful with how you act as Attorney-in-Fact (your actions when using the POA). It would be best to look at your Father's will - does he divide the estate equally between the 3 of you, or substantially equally? If so, it would be best to list you and your two siblings as beneficiaries, with each of you receiving a third of the value of the life insurance policy. Although you feel that your brother is 'horrible' with money, it is not your call to make, unless you are Attorney-in-Fact for him as well.

If you need to make sure you have money for your Father's end of life costs, then make the distribution to you slightly larger, say 40% with 30% to each of your siblings, and make sure they know this is why the distribution is unequal.

This will save you hard feelings, and potentially legal fees once your Father does pass away. Keep all of your Attorney-in-Fact documents in neat and clean files, so that when your Father's beneficiaries ask for documentation, you can show that you followed the letter of the law and your Father's customary habits prior to his condition which caused you to act as Attorney-in-Fact.

Good luck!