The Benefits of Beneficiaries

As much as we don’t want to think about dying, it’s important to plan for it and have your financial affairs in order. Naming beneficiaries for all of your accounts and keeping that information up-to-date is vital to avoid disputes among those you’ve left behind.

Keep it Current

The joint owner has equal ownership with the primary owner, so if one of them passes away, the funds default to the other. If your account has a single owner, you can still elect who receives your America First resources by submitting this payable-on-death beneficiary form to any branch.

There are many life changes that can affect who your beneficiary is, such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or the death of someone in your immediate family. It’s therefore essential to keep your designations current. These apply to personal savings, checking & money market accounts, as well as certificates and IRAs.

You can also elect more than one recipient. In fact, additional coverage from the National Credit Union Administration is available when you have multiple beneficiaries. Details are at or contact an America First representative.


The credit union is required by law to disperse the funds to the named beneficiary, unless otherwise determined by the courts. This means if you remarry, but forget to change your information and your former spouse is still your designee when you die, your assets will go to him or her.

If you don’t choose a beneficiary and your account doesn’t have a joint owner, your money could be subject to probate, a process that administers a deceased person’s assets in a court of law. It costs to file the case, may require an attorney, and can take a long time if your estate is contested, so you want to avoid this if possible.

Another way to protect against probate is by opening a trust account. You’ll need a lawyer to draft the trust document, then we will set up your account that you will fund. America First also offers free professional consultations regarding trusts, wills and estate settlements. For specifics, call (801) 827-7130.

Staying current with your beneficiaries will help your family avoid unnecessary entanglements and stress. If you don’t know who is named on your account or want to check or change your status, please call 1-800-999-3961 or visit a nearby America First office.