Individual life or death insurance: "estate beneficiary" versus "legal heirs" clause

Life or death insurance is a recommended policy if you want to secure additional funds for your old age, save for future expenses or provide for your heirs.

The law of 13 January 2012 incorporating Article 110/1 into the law of 25 June 1992 on terrestrial insurance contracts, with regard to the designation of the beneficiary of a life insurance contract, was published in the Belgian Official Gazette of 24 February 2012. The law came into force on 3 March 2012. The content of this article is included in article 174 of the new law of 4 April 2014.

For life insurance contracts taken out after this date where the legal heirs are designated as beneficiaries without indication of their names, the insurance cover is due, until proof to the contrary or unless otherwise stipulated, to the policyholder's estate.

For life insurance policies taken out before 3 March 2012 which contain the clause "legal heirs", the policyholder may, at the initiative of the insurer, declare until 3 March 2014 that they waive the application of Article 110/1, by means of an addendum. If such a declaration is not filed by 3 March 2014, Article 110/1 will also apply to these contracts.

Policyholders who wish to find out about the exact scope of this beneficiary clause will find a concise and clear brochure on the website of Assuralia. (in French)

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Insurance Ombudsman

Last update
20 February 2023