California passed this month a law that changes how life insurance benefits can be paid out to beneficiaries after the death of their loved ones. In the past, beneficiaries were given only one option, retained-asset accounts. Now, beneficiaries have the option of receiving their benefits in one lump sum payment.

Sentate Bill 599 requires all life insurance benefits be paid in the form of a lump-sum payment to the beneficiary or by another settlement option that is clearly described in the claim form. If the beneficiary does not choose one of the available settlement options, a retained-asset account would be authorized to be the default option only if the claim form provides a prominent disclosure that in the absence of a choice by the beneficiary, payment of policy benefits would be made through establishment of a retained-asset account on the beneficiary’s behalf.

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