A beneficiary is a person(s) or entity you name to receive benefits upon your death.
You may name:
- An individual (or multiple individuals)
- An entity (such as a charity, business, religious organization, funeral home, etc.)
- A Trust
- Your Estate
Make sure ETF knows who you want to receive your WRS assets upon your death by keeping your beneficiary designation up-to-date. Benefits are always paid based on the most recent and valid beneficiary designation received at ETF before your death. Benefits will not be paid according to your Last Will and Testament.
If you do not have a designation on file, benefits will be paid in the order of “Statutory Standard Sequence” (a Wisconsin State law):
- Surviving Spouse or Domestic Partner
- Children (natural or legally adopted)
If one of your children dies before you, that child’s share is divided between the deceased child’s children.
- Brother(s) and Sister(s)
If one of your siblings dies before you, that sibling’s share is divided between the deceased sibling’s children.
Changing your beneficiary
You may change your beneficiary at any time. Major life events such as the birth or adoption of a child, marriage, divorce, or death do not automatically change your beneficiary designation. When you experience a major life change, review and update your beneficiary designation (if necessary) right away to ensure your benefits will be paid to the beneficiary of your choice.
Beneficiary Designation Forms
There are two ETF beneficiary designation forms:
- Beneficiary Designation (ET-2320) – Allows you to name a primary, secondary and tertiary beneficiaries.
- Beneficiary Designation – Alternate (ET-2321) – Allows you to name primary and secondary with an alternate beneficiary for each.
You may complete one form that applies to both your retirement and life insurance benefits. If you wish to list different beneficiaries for each benefit program you should fill out separate forms for each. All forms should be sent to ETF at the address on the form.
- ETF cannot accept any designation forms other than the approved forms mentioned above.
- ETF’s Beneficiary Designations do not cover benefits for the Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) plan. If you participate in the WDC, you must complete WDC’s Online Beneficiary Designation form.
Completing the Form
Carefully follow the instructions on the back of the form to avoid any questions as to your intent and to be sure your designation is accepted. If your designation is approved, ETF will send you a confirmation letter.
When completing the form:
- Be sure to sign and date the form
- Do not list the same person(s) or organization as primary and secondary
- Do not make any changes to the form
- Do not add any “conditions” for payment
- Follow the instructions on the back of the form.
Who is Your Current Beneficiary?
Your most recent Annual Statement of Benefits may show your “Primary” beneficiary. It will not show any secondary or tertiary beneficiaries.
If your statement does not show your most recent designation it could be because:
- ETF does not have a designation form on file
- You submitted your designation prior to 1988
- You named a specialty type of beneficiary such as a testamentary or living trust.
- You named a combination of different entities.
To confirm who your beneficiary is, or if you have questions about the Beneficiary Designation forms, contact ETF at 1-877-533-5020.