How to Update Your Beneficiaries

Keeping up-to-date beneficiary information on all of your accounts is easy to do and only takes a few minutes online. Most importantly, you can feel confident that your loved ones will receive the assets you intend for them to have.

Annuity customers, please complete these steps instead.

Why is it important to name beneficiaries?

Watch this video to learn more about the process, including the information you should have before you get started and certain life events that may affect who you choose as a beneficiary.

What do I need to know?

Taking the time to choose your beneficiaries now can help your family avoid probate later. Please tell your family or friends if you've selected them as a beneficiary, because your beneficiaries must contact Fidelity themselves to receive their assets. We'll distribute your assets to your beneficiaries without requiring a will or other legal documents.

You'll need to assign at least one beneficiary for each account; most of the time you can add, change, or delete your beneficiaries online. To get started, please provide:

  • Beneficiary type (e.g., spouse, non-spouse, trust, entity)
  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number (optional)

You can also name contingent beneficiaries. Contingent beneficiaries receive your assets if there is no living primary beneficiary.

On joint accounts, all owners must accept the beneficiary changes:

  • We'll email the joint owners asking them to agree to the changes
  • After they've agreed, the account is updated

Note: Some retirement accounts or plans may require spousal consent (e.g., profit sharing, self-employed, 401(k), Keogh) before you can add or change the beneficiary.

If you do not see the account you want to update on the Beneficiary Summary page, it's likely that:

  • You have a workplace plan, like a 401(k), that's serviced by Fidelity; log in to your NetBenefits®Log In Required account to make these updates
  • You have a workplace plan, like a 401(k), that's not serviced by Fidelity; contact your plan's administrator or trustee to request changes

What to expect

After you've updated your beneficiaries:

  • If you've updated online, and no additional consent or paperwork is needed, your changes will be effective in just a few minutes
  • When spousal consent or approval from a joint owner is required, your beneficiaries will typically be updated within three business days after we receive the paperwork or email approval
  • You can track the status of your update in Your TransactionsLog In Required
  • You'll see your changes on the Beneficiary Summary page