Ask Jack: What happens if I don’t select a beneficiary in the event of my death?

Ask Jack Jack Ehnes

Under both Coverage A & B Survivor Benefits, if you die before retirement and have not listed a one-time beneficiary, CalSTRS will make the payment to your estate. However, your survivors, including your spouse or registered domestic partner and dependent children, may still be eligible for a monthly survivor benefit.

In the event your survivors are not eligible for a monthly benefit, your accumulated Defined Benefit contributions and/or your Defined Benefit Supplement account balance must be paid to your estate.

If you die after retirement and choose not to elect an option, you will receive your full service retirement or disability retirement benefit. When you die, your lifetime benefit will end. If there are any remaining contributions and interest in your Defined Benefit account or a remaining balance in your Defined Benefit Supplement account, CalSTRS must make the payment to your estate.

In case of your death, someone will need to contact CalSTRS to report your death. The case will then be assigned to a caseworker and the caseworker will research if your benefit will be paid to your estate or not.

For additional information, please refer to the survivor benefits publication – Survivor Benefits: Remember Your Loved Ones and the CalSTRS Member Handbook.