How Do I…

Assist Members with a Beneficiary Change?

Because life changes (death, marriage, having a child, divorce) can occur during an employee’s career with the city, it is very important to keep beneficiary designations up-to-date. Beneficiary data is shown on each member’s annual statement and can be viewed by employees through MyTMRS or may be requested by the member in writing.

Members can designate or change their beneficiary in MyTMRS by logging on and clicking the blue Update button on the right side of the Beneficiaries tab. Members can also designate or change a beneficiary by using the Beneficiary Designation Before Retirement (TMRS-BENE) form.

After members become vested, they must resubmit a new beneficiary designation (through MyTMRS, or by paper TMRS-BENE form) with TMRS, even if they do not change their beneficiary.

Vesting is an important time to review beneficiary designations because if a member dies without having a valid beneficiary designation on file at TMRS, payment of death benefits will be delayed until TMRS has completed an in-depth review of the member’s marital and family history. Surviving family members will be asked to file sworn Affidavits of Family History, and to obtain sworn statements from disinterested witnesses (non-related individuals such as friends, coworkers, etc.) who can also attest to the information being submitted to TMRS. Documentation such as marriage certificates, divorce decrees, birth certificates, death certificates, etc. will be requested to confirm all of the information provided on the Affidavits.

Vested death benefits will be paid in the following order:

  • To the spouse; or
  • To the children if there is no spouse; or
  • To the last designated beneficiary if there is no spouse and no children; or
  • To the estate.

To avoid surviving family members the additional grief associated with this process, please have employees maintain a valid beneficiary designation for their vested death benefits at all times.