A beneficiary is the person, trust, estate, or organization named by an active, deferred, deferred reciprocal, or retired member to receive a benefit in the event of the member’s death.
Beneficiary Designation Forms
It’s important to have a current, complete Beneficiary Designation form on file with LACERA that includes contact information for your designated beneficiary(ies). This will be helpful to both LACERA and your beneficiary should it be necessary for LACERA to pay death benefits on your behalf.
A primary beneficiary is the first beneficiary entitled to receive a benefit, usually a spouse or domestic partner. In the absence of a spouse or partner, members can name multiple primary beneficiaries, or one or more secondary beneficiaries to receive benefits if no primary beneficiaries remain at the time of a member’s death.
Remember to update your beneficiary designation whenever there are changes in your family status due to a birth, death, marriage, domestic partnership registration, or divorce. You can update your beneficiaries at My LACERA, by contacting us, or by submitting a Beneficiary Designation form.
Pre-Retirement Beneficiary Designation
If you are an active member in a contributory plan, you are required to designate a beneficiary. Your spouse or domestic partner supersedes all named beneficiaries. If you do not have a spouse or domestic partner at the time of your death, your minor children supersede all other named beneficiaries. If you name a trust, the trust will receive a lump sum benefit, not a monthly survivor benefit.
Post-Retirement Beneficiary Categories
When you retire, you have your choice of six retirement allowance options, which will determine how your retirement benefits are distributed upon your death. To receive a continuing benefit, your survivor(s) must meet certain criteria. Beneficiary categories and eligibility requirements for continuing benefits are as follows:
- Eligible Spouse
- Must be married one year prior to the member’s retirement and submit an original certified marriage certificate.
- Eligible Domestic Partner
- Must be registered with the California Secretary of State, with a Certificate of Registered Domestic Partnership, one year prior to the member’s retirement.
- Eligible Child(ren)
- When there is no surviving spouse or partner, unmarried children are eligible for a monthly continuance, including health insurance benefits up to age 18. Eligibility may be extended through the age of 21 if the eligible child(ren) remains unmarried and a full-time student in an accredited educational institution.
- Person with Insurable Interest
- A beneficiary with an insurable interest depends on the member for education, support, money, property, and/or services.