One of the simplest yet ultimately most complex decisions you face when you take out life insurance is who to nominate as a beneficiary on your policy. In practice the decision is often taken with very little thought, with everyone just wanting to get the "policy on the books". Here are some things to consider when nominating a beneficiary of your policy. Nominating your spouse as beneficiary The advantage of nominating your spouse as the beneficiary of your life policy is the estate duty benefit. In terms of paragraph 4(q) of the Estate Duty Act, when calculating estate duty payable by your estate, the executor can deduct "so much of the value of any property included in the estate ... as accrues to the surviving spouse of the deceased". Your spouse is then defined in the Estate Duty Act as including a person who at the time of your death was your partner: • In a marriage or customary union recognised in terms of South African law; • In a union recognised as a marriage in accordanc...

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