Adding Your Partner As A Beneficiary Is A Big Step, Here’s How You'll Know You’re Ready

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You start a new job and you're filling your benefits package, when you get to the life insurance page and realize you need to select a beneficiary. Do you put a family member? A friend? Maybe, the time has come for you to consider adding your partner as a beneficiary. Ultimately, the decision of who you want as a beneficiary is totally up to you. It is a major one though, so if you think it might be time to put your SO's name on the dotted line, you want make sure you and your relationship are ready.

To help understand whether or not the time is right to make your partner a beneficiary, I reached out to NYC relationship expert and love coach Susan Winter, who tells Elite Daily she agrees this choice is not one to take lightly. "Making your partner a beneficiary of your estate, investment portfolio, or life insurance policy is a very big deal,” she says. “Even if it's only one annuity, this is a major commitment on your part.” So, it’s essential you have thought it through. Here's how she says you'll know you're ready to take that step, and how and when to talk to your partner about it.

How to know the time is right to make your partner your beneficiary.

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The first thing you want to consider when deciding if you're ready to make your SO your beneficiary is how serious and committed the relationship is, says Winter. "Normally, monetary gifts of this magnitude are reserved for family or spouses. It's wise to tread carefully in the financial gifting arena if your SO is anything less than your life mate," she explains. Winter suggests only making this move when you are confident that your relationship is on firm ground. "Making your partner a beneficiary should only be done when you know they're in for the long haul," says Winter. Like for instance, are you living together? Do you believe that you will be together for the next ten years? Have they made you their beneficiary? Winter says these are all questions to ask yourself that can help you gauge your actual readiness.

How to talk to them about it — or not.

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If after spending some time considering your choice thoughtfully, you decide that the time really is right for you to add your SO as your beneficiary, the question becomes what, if anything, do you tell your partner? Winter says you may actually not want to say anything at all. "Unless your partner is your life mate, keep this information to yourself. Though a profoundly generous gift on your part, it does require your death to activate the release of these monies. This is why you may want to keep this information to yourself," she says. For one thing, this gives you flexibility to change your mind if the relationship does break down, says Winter. "What if the partner you adore today isn't around a year from now? Thankfully, you can change the beneficiary status of your accounts without their ever being the wiser," she explains.

Ultimately, Winter reiterates, the choice of who to choose is entirely up to you — as is the choice of whether or not to disclose that information. "If your employer or portfolio manager asks you elect a beneficiary, choose whomever you like. The beauty of not stating this information directly to its recipient is that it allows you latitude to change your mind in the future. Not every partner lasts forever," she says.

The key here is just to make sure you are taking the decision seriously. If you feel you're ready, great! Just make sure to make the choice that feels like the correct fit for you. If you change your mind down the road, that's totally OK, too.