Laura Berry is a former State Farm insurance producer and insurance expert.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Car Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jan 25, 2017

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Don't miss these facts...

  • A legal power of attorney can change the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.
  • There is an exception to the above rule.
  • State laws and procedures at financial institutions are getting stricter because of the increase in abuses in beneficiary changes on life insurance policies.


Protecting your assets with the right legal documents is a critical point in making sure your family is taken care of, and your assets are distributed the way you wish when you die.

If documents are outdated, people named in the documents or as beneficiaries have died, your assets may not be handled as you want them to be.

Setting a proper power of attorney agreement with someone you trust, can alleviate some of these problems.

A properly appointed power of attorney can update beneficiaries on your life insurance as changes arise.

If your original beneficiary dies, your power of attorney can name a new one, preventing the proceeds from being paid to your estate.

This will save on taxes as well as protect the proceeds from creditors. If there is a divorce in the family, changes can be made to reflect that.

Learn more about Power of Attorney below and make sure to use our free quote tool above! Just enter your zip code and start comparing rates today!

General Power of Attorney Agreement

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A general power of attorney gives the representative a lot of freedom when it comes to handling the affairs of the person giving him or her the power.

When it comes to matters covered, the power of attorney can make decisions about medical as well as financial issues.

If you want your power of attorney to have the power to change the beneficiary on your life insurance policies, it is a good idea to specifically state this in the official document.

This would avoid any questions at the time changes are needed. It might be helpful to let other family members know who has power of attorney.

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Steps for Changing the Beneficiary When Using Power of Attorney

If you are the power of attorney for another person, you will need to write a letter to the insurance company who wrote the policy.

Explain to them that you are the power of attorney and that you need to make a change in beneficiary. Explain in detail why this change needs to be made.

This is a good time to send the power of attorney documents, so the insurance company can review and approve them.

The company will send you the appropriate forms that must be filled out and returned in order for the process to take place. The forms will ask for all names and social security numbers for the people involved.

You will need birthdates as well. At the time you take on the role of power of attorney, you should get this information.

Don’t wait until you need to take action, because the grant of the power may not be able to give you this information if they have become disabled.

After completing the forms, return them to the insurance company. You must wait and see how they respond. They may have further questions or need more information before they make the changes.

Special Situation When a Power of Attorney Cannot Change the Beneficiary

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Irrevocable beneficiaries cannot be changed by a power of attorney. This type of beneficiary designation can be set up for a number of different reasons.

They can be set up voluntarily to cover a specific debt the benefactor wants to cover

Many divorce courts call for irrevocable beneficiaries on policies that cover an ex-spouse, who is the primary income provider for minor children or a former spouse.

The courts want to protect the minor children by making the custodial parent an irrevocable beneficiary. Once set up, they cannot be changed.

Trust funds for disabled children may be set up as irrevocable beneficiaries. This is done in an effort to protect the disabled child or person for the rest of their lives.

Special Issues that You Should Know When Using a Power of Attorney

Giving a specific right to the power of attorney is important. Vague statements may call into question, which rights he or she actually has at the time they are needed.

The POA cannot name him or herself as the beneficiary unless it is specifically stated in the documents that this is allowed.

The POA lasts as long as the issuing person lives unless you change it. It is a good idea to keep track of these papers in case you change your mind.

When you die, the POA dies with you. Your representative cannot make any further changes after your death. It is a good idea to make sure beneficiaries are reviewed and updated when needed.

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Laws Governing Power of Attorney Beneficiary Changes are Getting Stricter

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With senior abuse increasing and people using fraudulent methods to steal money, state and federal laws governing power of attorney beneficiary changes are becoming more specific.

Since financial institutions can be held liable for damages from paying proceeds to the wrong party, they are requiring a lot more information to accept the beneficiary changes made through POA documents.

If the exact procedures set up are not followed, the POA can be rejected. Some companies require witnesses to the document signing. Make sure you follow the exact steps to validate the documents use.

In conclusion, it is possible for a representative with power of attorney to legally change the beneficiary on a life insurance policy.

As long as the state laws have been followed and the procedures required by the financial institution have been met, the process is allowed.

The only time a valid POA is not allowed to change a beneficiary is when the life insurance policy has an irrevocable beneficiary.

It is a good idea to set up your power of attorney with a person you completely trust. Do it with all the legal language and specifications that make the power as specific as possible.

A general power of attorney will give a board range of permissions, so make sure that is what you want. A limited power of attorney can be used for only the issues listed in the document.

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