Montana Public Employee Retirement Administration

Beneficiary Information

Designating a beneficiary determines who will receive your account in the event you pass away.  A beneficiary can be one person, several people, a trust, or an organization.  

It is important to review and update your beneficiary(ies) as you experience major life events  such as marriage, birth or adoption of a child, divorce, and/or death.

If you are married, some MPERA administered retirement plans require your spouse to be the primary beneficiary. See the specific retirement system's web page for more details on designating beneficiaries and survivor benefits. 

Beneficiary Considerations

If you are still working, you should consider an important distinction between designating a sole beneficiary and multiple beneficiaries for their MPERA administered retirement plan.

  • Eligible beneficiaries have the choice to receive a monthly retirement benefit based on your length of service and salary.
  • Estate, trust, charity, or other organization named as your beneficiary must receive a lump sum payment.
  • Contingent Beneficiaries will receive a benefit only if there is no surviving primary beneficiary.

If you do not designate a beneficiary and you pass away pre-retirement, a distribution of your contributions will be made in accordance with Montana law. A lump sum payment will be made to your estate if you are a member of the Public Employee Retirement, Sheriffs’ Retirement System, Game Wardens’ and Peace Officers’ Retirement System and Judges’ Retirement System

Death benefits will be paid to the spouse of members of the Municipal Police Officers’ Retirement System, Highway Patrol Retirement System, Firefighters’ Unified Retirement System and the Volunteer Firefighters’’ Compensation Act.  If you are not married and in one of public safety officer retirement systems, statutory provisions will apply, depending on the plan.  Please reference your specific retirement plan handbook for more details.  

How to designate (or update) your beneficiary 

You can designate your beneficiary(ies) by filling out a Designation of Beneficiary form. Your Designation of Beneficiary form must be on file with MPERA before any changes will take effect.

You can update your beneficiary information using the following options:

  1. PERS members: Update your beneficiary information using MPERA’s e-filing option via DocuSign.
  2. Update your beneficiary information by downloading the Designation of Beneficiary form and returning it MPERA.