There’s a simple thing you can do right now to make life easier for the people you’ll leave behind when you pass away. By designating a beneficiary for your retirement account, you can make the process of claiming the remaining assets in your retirement account after your death a lot simpler. If you don’t designate a beneficiary, the assets in your account may have to go through the probate process to determine who will inherit them. And that can take time and cost money. Even if you have a will, your beneficiary designation may simplify and accelerate the claims process.

Designating a beneficiary

The first step is to designate your beneficiary if you haven’t already. Simply log in to your account, click on Account, select Overview, and click Beneficiaries. You can choose to name both a primary and a contingent (secondary) beneficiary, such as a spouse, parent, sibling, or other loved one.1 You can add almost anyone; just make sure you have some of their basic information, including their full legal name, Social Security number, date of birth, phone number, and home address.

Understanding the claims process

In the event of your death, you can help ensure your beneficiary (or beneficiaries) knows what to do next. They will need to complete and submit a notification form to Empower along with a death certificate. The form is available at The form asks for some basic information, including the birth date, death date, and Social Security number of the person who passed away. After Empower confirms the beneficiary information, they’ll notify the beneficiary of next steps. On average, the claims process takes a month to complete. Empower’s beneficiary support services team is available at 866-442-3888 Monday – Friday from <7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain time> to answer any questions.

Make sure your retirement plan assets go to the people you want by naming them as beneficiaries of your account. Please note that if you have more than one retirement plan, you will need to add a beneficiary designation to each plan. And, if life circumstances change, your choice of beneficiaries may change as well. Remember to keep your beneficiary information up to date. Log in to your myretirement Plan account at to add or update your beneficiary(ies). Make sure that each account at Empower has a beneficiary.

1 If you are married, your plan may require your spouse to be the beneficiary unless your spouse provides written consent to select an alternate beneficiary. Contact your human resources department for specific plan rules.

Source – Empower