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Designating revocable and irrevocable beneficiaries

Note: This article is for HR Admins. If you're not an HR Admin and want to learn more about the beneficiary form process, check out this article.

When an employee enrolls in Basic or Optional Life or Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance, they can choose to make a beneficiary revocable or irrevocable. The difference between the two is significant:

  • An irrevocable beneficiary can’t be removed from the policy without the beneficiary providing written consent.

  • A revocable beneficiary has no say in whether they remain as beneficiary.

Residents of all Canadian provinces except Québec:

If an employee lives in any province other than Québec, all beneficiary designations are assumed to be revocable unless otherwise stated.

For employees who want to make their beneficiary designations irrevocable, some beneficiary forms provide direction on how to do so. If direction isn’t provided, the member can simply write "irrevocable" beside the beneficiary's name, and this is considered legally binding.

Québec residents:

If an employee lives in Québec and designates their spouse as beneficiary, the spousal beneficiary is assumed to be irrevocable, unless the employee specifically indicates on the beneficiary form that the designation is revocable. All other designations (other than the spouse) are assumed to be revocable unless stated otherwise. This is based on Québec legislation.

Because of this assumption, beneficiary forms usually include a section for employees who are Québec residents to specifically indicate if the spousal beneficiary is revocable or irrevocable.

What is the process for changing a revocable beneficiary designation?

Employees can change a revocable beneficiary designation at any time. The employee can download a new version of the beneficiary form, and complete and upload the form to the “Documents & Forms” section of the League platform.

What is the process for changing an irrevocable beneficiary designation?

To change an irrevocable beneficiary, or to change the current beneficiary designation from irrevocable to revocable, employees must submit a new beneficiary form along with one of the following documents:

  • Written consent from the irrevocable beneficiary to be removed from the policy

  • Final Decree of Divorce (if the irrevocable beneficiary is the employee’s spouse)

  • Proof of death of the irrevocable beneficiary

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