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Surprising beneficiary designations, part 3

October 15, 2012

Part three of a three-part series (read Part One and Part Two) exploring cases of beneficiary designations that left family and friends stunned.

The final installment of this series serves as a reminder that because someone is near-and-dear to us today, does not necessarily mean that this will be the case tomorrow.

To update your beneficiary designation, sign in to your Ontario Teachers' account.

Should you die before retirement, without an eligible spouse or dependent children, your Teachers' survivor benefit allows you an opportunity to leave a large sum of money to someone you care a great deal for. It's not uncommon for beneficiary death benefits to reach $1 million.

In Part One of this series, we saw a man who singled out a young nephew at the expense of the rest of his family, who she was on good terms with. And in Part Two a recent graduate designated his alma mater. When he died decades later without having updated this designation, his family and friends were shocked that the university he attended decades ago was his chosen beneficiary.

Case 3: Friends with survivor benefits

When Jim* died suddenly and unexpectedly, his sister called Teachers' to inquire about survivor benefits. His sister did not recognize the name of the woman Jim had designated, roughly 15 years prior. Teachers' tracked down the beneficiary. When contacted, she recalled that she and Jim taught together for a short while and were friends, but Jim had mistakenly believed that they were dating. She transferred to a different employer shortly thereafter and the two never saw or spoke with one another again.

The benefit was approximately $300,000.

*To protect members' and their loved ones' privacy, we will not use their real names.