IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON DECEMBER 2017 UPDATES TO BENEFICIARY POLICY
The Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund works to ensure that the professional musicians who are participants of the Fund receive the residuals they've earned from their work in the film and television industry. Updates to the Fund's processes and policies announced in December are designed to keep pace with evolving and more complex laws, security and verification requirements. More importantly, the updates are designed to better empower participant Musicians by providing them with the ability to name both a Beneficiary and a Beneficiary of Beneficiary.
Please read the important information and updates regarding the changes to the Beneficiary Policy:
- The new Beneficiary Designation Form provides space for the Musician to name both the beneficiary to receive residuals after the Musician's passing and also name an individual as the Beneficiary of Beneficiary ("BoB") to receive residuals after the death of that beneficiary.
- The new Musician's Beneficiary Designation Form will replace and supersede any prior Beneficiary Designation Form previously filed by the Musician with the Fund.
- The new Musician's Beneficiary Designation Form, to be used only by Musicians, is located on this website here. The interactive fields can be filled out online, but the Form must be printed out, signed by the Musician and notarized, and then sent to the Fund by mail or emailed as a PDF attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Only a BoB that has been designated by the Musician on a Musician's Beneficiary Designation Form can receive residuals after the death of the Musician's beneficiary. If the Musician chooses not to name a BoB, residuals will cease following the death of the Musician's beneficiary.
- Only a living individual may be named as a Musician's beneficiary or a BoB. Organizations, corporations, trusts (other than a trust for the specific benefit of a named individual(s) living at the time of the Musician's death), charities and other non-human entities may not be designated as your beneficiary or BoB.
- During his/her life, a Musician can always change or update his/her designation, by submitting a new signed and notarized Musician's Beneficiary Designation Form.
- As a reminder, to protect the Musician, all Musician Beneficiary Designation Forms must be signed by the Musician and notarized.
- All Participant Musicians were mailed new Musician's Beneficiary Designation Forms in late December. If you have not received a mailing from the Fund containing the new Musician's Beneficiary Designation Form by January 5, 2018, contact the Fund office at (888) 443-6763.
Musicians are strongly encouraged to complete and return a new Musician's Beneficiary Designation Form on or before March 31, 2018.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why do I need to update my previous Beneficiary Designation Form?
The new Beneficiary Designation Form now allows the Musician to name not only a beneficiary to receive his/her residuals after the Musician's death, but also to name a BoB who would receive residuals after the death of the beneficiary. The ability of the Musician to name this "beneficiary of beneficiary" is new, and can only be recorded and administered by the Fund if a Musician fills out and returns to the Fund a new Designation Form.
What if I don't fill out a new Designation Form, and just leave my prior Beneficiary Designation Form in place?
In that case, your prior beneficiary designation will be followed. Upon your death, the beneficiary you designated will begin receiving residuals. However, there would be no BoB, and residuals will end at the death of your beneficiary.
I received two letters from the Fund in the December special mailing. Are they duplicates and should I throw the second one out?
NO! If you received two letters from the Fund, it was intentional and could mean one of several things:
- You may be a Musician in your own right, but are also receiving residuals as a beneficiary of a deceased Musician and you failed to designate your BoB. Therefore, you would receive one letter and form from the Fund asking you to complete the new Musician's Beneficiary Designation Form, and also a second letter with a different form asking you, as a beneficiary of an already deceased Musician, to name a BoB. If you are a beneficiary of a deceased Musician and you have not already named a BoB to receive residuals after your death, you must designate a BoB and send that designation to the Fund so it is received not later than March 31, 2018. Beginning April 1, 2018, no beneficiary of a deceased Musician will be able to name a BoB.
- You may be a beneficiary of two (or more) different deceased Musicians, and you have not named a BoB. In this case, you would receive a letter for each of the deceased Musicians for whom you are a beneficiary. You'll note that each cover letter identifies the name of the deceased Musician on whose account you're receiving residuals. In this case, you should submit both BoB Designation Forms sent to you. You may name the same BoB on both forms or name different individuals on the two forms, whatever you decide is best for you. Again, you must send in your completed forms so they're received at the Fund office before March 31, 2018.
I'm a Musician who has received residuals from the Fund in the past. I heard about this special mailing from fellow Musicians, but I never received anything. What gives?
It probably means your mailing address with the Fund is out of date. Please contact the Fund's Participant Services at (888) 443-6763, and also update your address by following the instructions located here.
Can I name someone other than my spouse as my beneficiary?
Nothing in the Fund's policy prevents you from doing so; however, different states may have different rules regarding domestic relations. If you intend to name someone other than your spouse as your beneficiary, we strongly advise you to check with your legal advisor first. The Fund does not, and cannot, offer legal advice.
Where can I learn more about the background and specifics on the updated policy?
A presentation about the updated policy will be held at the Local 47 Membership meeting in Burbank, CA on January 22nd and in New York on a date to be determined.
In addition, you can find more information about the Fund's updated Beneficiary and Beneficiary of Beneficiary Policies by visiting the Fund's website at https://www.fmsmf.org/beneficiary. If you have any questions, please contact us toll free at (888) 443-6763 with any questions or concerns you may have.