Beneficiaries are more than just names on a sheet of paper, it is your statement to WRS and the world about who receives the benefit of your retirement account.  Having a beneficiary affects not only retirees but also active members.  Active members who pass away may have assets in their retirement account from their contributions.  The beneficiary designation tells WRS how to distribute these funds.  Retirees select a form of their annuity, which informs us of how and whether the pension will continue after the member passes -- but for some of those forms, there can be a remaining account balance, even if the pension doesn’t continue to another person.  How should that lump sum be distributed? The beneficiary designation that.

The beneficiary designation tells WRS who to pay and could help your loved ones avoid probate.

When creating or reviewing an estate plan, reviewing beneficiary designations on retirement plans or life insurance policies may not be given the weight it deserves. Is a will or trust enough to make sure your money goes where you want it to go when you pass?

You can update your beneficiaries online or obtain the forms from us to update your beneficiary designations. It is an easy process; distributing your assets once you pass without designating a beneficiary is not. Take the time today to name or review your beneficiary designations.  It can help you make sure your money goes where you intended. Beneficiary forms are easily obtainable on our website ( or by requesting them with a phone call. 

The advantage of naming beneficiaries is the ability to potentially avoid probate. Probate is the legal process for distributing your assets after your death, and, in most cases, will not benefit your beneficiaries. It is often a time-consuming, expensive process that simply adds one more hoop for your heirs to jump through.
Beneficiaries should be updated.  If you designated a spouse as a beneficiary and now that spouse is an ex-spouse, your ex-spouse will receive the benefit if you pass away, not your current spouse. 

Simply stating in your will how you want the money in a retirement account to be distributed is not enough. Having an up-to-date beneficiary designation ensures your assets go where you