The formalism of the beneficiary designation – EconomyMorning

The beneficiary clause is a tool that should not be underestimated, both in the articulation of its succession and in the rigor of the drafting.

The drafting of the beneficiary clause indeed feeds an important dispute and it is sometimes the guarantor of family peace after your death. So, take the time to reflect and advise, using the following 3 points:

1 / the principles of the modification:

Article L132-8 of the Insurance Code gives us the keys to the modification. It should be noted right now that the designation is not compulsory but, in our opinion, it would be a shame not to do so!

3 formalisms are possible at any time:

– the amendment to the contract: a simple letter addressed to the insurer

-The testamentary way

-Article 1690 of the Civil Code: little used in practice

Be careful, you must make a choice between these 3 possibilities and stick to it. Indeed when applying a clause, it is necessary to seek the intention of the subscriber by all means. And the more conflicting sources you multiply, the greater the risk of litigation.

Let’s take an example: including in your will that you revoke all previous provisions will not affect the amendment to the contract registered with your insurer.

2 / The criteria used for the designation to be applicable:

The judgments of the civil chamber of the court of cassation regularly specify that the designation must show:

-a sure will


– of which the insurer will have been aware

An amendment to the beneficiary clause which has been drafted correctly but which will not be received by the insurer will not be retained.

From experience, know that an endorsement letter posted by the subscriber on Friday, who dies on Saturday, was not retained by the company and it is the old clause that was applied.

3 / The need for the designation to remain valid over time:

Also, to change the beneficiary, all you have to do is name the new one (except in the case of acceptance of the initial beneficiary).

Take the precaution of designating the beneficiary by his capacity or his name but not both. Thus entering “To Mr. Henri Martin, my spouse” would be inapplicable in the event of divorce. Likewise, representation is not presumed and should be used to protect every branch of your family.

As you will have understood, the form is as important as the substance and conditions the correct application of what you want. Getting closer to your wealth advisor is therefore a necessary prerequisite to properly optimize your beneficiary clauses.

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