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If insured persons do not adjust the life insurance pre-emptive rights, they risk annoyance. Because if the beneficiary is not clearly defined, all too quickly the wrong gets the money of insurance. If, for example, the ex-partner is still registered as a beneficiary despite divorce, it looks bleak for the spouse. Insured should therefore pay attention to these pitfalls.

The subscription right of the insurance company determines who receives the agreed services. For many insurance companies, this is also the policyholder, for example in household insurance. For some hedges, however, it makes more sense to declare another person a beneficiary – as in life insurance or term life insurance. Because with these policies insured mainly want to protect their loved ones in the event of their own death . For example, the amount paid out can then be used to repay the loan for the common house or to secure the financial position of the surviving dependents.

Trip hazard 1: Beneficiaries not divorced during divorce

The subscription right plays an important role, especially in life insurance. In view of the approximately 35 million endowment and term life insurance policies in Germany, each policyholder should therefore know exactly who the beneficiary is. But as is often the case with insurance, the contracts land once agreed in the file folder, dust there and fall into oblivion . This can be fatal. If, for example, the beneficiary is “the spouse”, then he also gets the insurance money – regardless of whether the policyholder has divorced in the meantime and has meanwhile touched the ring on a new partner .

Insured persons should therefore regularly check whether the beneficiary, such as the life insurance, has changed. In addition, accurate formulations are important. Either the beneficiary is mentioned by name and the date of birth is also noted. Or general statements are made so concrete that ambiguities are excluded. For example, instead of “the spouse”, it should read “the partner living with the policyholder in the event of an insured event”.

Bezugsrecht Versicherung - Familie

Man, woman, child or house as
Protect beneficiaries

Trip hazard 2: Irrevocable subscription right granted

There is the revocable and the irrevocable subscription right. In most cases, the subscription right is revocable. On the one hand, this gives beneficiaries the right to the insurance benefit in the event of an emergency – in the case of term life or life insurance, this is the death of the insured person. On the other hand, the beneficiary can be changed by the policyholder at any time . It is important that the insurer is informed accordingly in writing. A simple note waiting for his discovery in the local dresser is not enough.

In the case of irrevocable subscription rights, beneficiaries receive the right to disbursement of the money immediately and not only in the event of an insurance claim. This does not mean they are paid the sum insured before the insured dies. Instead, this has the consequence that the beneficiary can only be changed with his consent. For example, anyone who has granted the first wife the irrevocable subscription right but has fallen in love again and remarried after divorce can only appoint a new beneficiary with the consent of the ex-wife . In the event of assignment and seizure of the insurance, the policyholder also needs the consent of the beneficiary in the case of an irrevocable subscription right.

The subscription right is irrevocably agreed, for example, if the business partner is to be covered by a term life insurance when founding a company . Especially here the sudden death of a partner can endanger the existence of the newly founded company. In the case of irrevocable subscription rights , the insurance money may not be seized and is thus protected against the access of the creditors in the case of indebted insured persons .

Trip hazard 3: Beneficiary is not informed

If beneficiaries do not know that they are employed as beneficiaries of life insurance, the heirs of the deceased have the option of preventing the payment. From a legal point of view, the naming of a beneficiary is the offer of a gift of death benefit. However, if the beneficiary does not know about the offer, he can not accept it . In addition, the so concluded donation contract only finally applies if the money of the insurance was paid to the beneficiary. As long as this is not the case, the heirs can revoke the gift offer and ensure that the beneficiary of the life insurance is not paid a penny .

For this reason, not only the beneficiary should be informed that he is entitled to money in the death of the insured. To be on the safe side, it is also advisable for the beneficiary and the policyholder to sign a notarised donation agreement so that the donation is legally secure.

Stumbling trap 4: death of the beneficiary

If the beneficiary of the insurance dies in front of the policyholder, a new beneficiary can be appointed – but only with the revocable subscription right. If no beneficiary is employed, the insured sum will be transferred to the estate in the event of claim and thus belongs to the entitled heir. If the right is irrevocably settled, the claim passes to the heirs of the beneficiary. However, anyone who does not want this can agree that the right ends or expires with the death of the beneficiary.

Bezugsrecht Versicherung - Steuern sparen

The sum insured may be before
Tax protected

Trip hazard 5: pay taxes

On the disbursed sum insured to the beneficiaries taxes may be incurred , for example inheritance or gift tax. In the case of married and registered partnerships, however, inheritance tax is not so strong as there are large allowances of 500,000 euros before taxes are incurred. For children, the limit is 400,000 euros. However, spouses can completely avoid inheritance tax with a simple legal trick . For this purpose, the policyholder may not be the insured person at the same time.

For example, if a family wants to protect themselves against the death of the main earner, such as the husband, with a term life insurance, the policyholder should not be the man but the wife. The insured person whose death is secured is the man. It is important that the insurance premiums are demonstrably paid by the policyholder.


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