Protecting Your ACERA Beneficiaries

ACERA asks its members to name a beneficiary or beneficiaries, to whom benefits are payable in the event of death. It is important to keep your beneficiary designations current (addresses and phone numbers) to ensure timely payments are made to the appropriate individuals.  

A beneficiary can be your spouse/registered domestic partner, minor child, or any other person. You may designate multiple beneficiaries. ACERA also recommends that you name a secondary beneficiary, also referred to as a contingent or alternate beneficiary, in the event your primary beneficiary does not survive you.  

You may change your beneficiaries for lump sum death benefits at any time. All beneficiary changes must be made in writing on the appropriate beneficiary designation form; changes cannot be made by phone. To change your beneficiary(ies), complete the ACERA Retired Member Beneficiary Designation Form. Contact ACERA if you need assistance in completing the form.

Take Note!

Spouses have legal rights to continuance benefits, which supersede any other named beneficiaries. However, it is possible for your spouse to waive his or her rights to your benefits.  

There are special considerations for naming a minor child as a beneficiary. If you are naming a minor child as a plan beneficiary, you may want to name an adult as “custodian” to receive and manage payments for the minor until an age you choose. Instructions for doing this without court supervision are included on the ACERA Retired Member Beneficiary Designation Form. If you do not name a custodian, court appointment and supervision of payments by a guardian must be established. This can sometimes be a lengthy process, which can involve legal or court fees. All funds will be distributed to a guardian if your beneficiary is under age 18. A lump sum distribution is paid for accounts valued at less than $10,000.