Topic Archive: Beneficiary Designation

Is it Possible for a 401(k) Beneficiary to Waive Benefits?

DWC | 05/1/18

Facts

One of our employees who was a participant in our 401(k) plan recently passed away. He never submitted a beneficiary designation form; however, since he was married, we understand that his spouse is automatically his beneficiary. According to his spouse, there are enough other assets such that she does not want to accept the death benefit from the 401(k) plan and prefers, instead, that the benefit pass to her brother-in-law (her deceased husband’s brother).

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When Must Participants Get Their Spouses To Sign-off On Changing 401(k) Elections?

DWC | 04/3/18

Facts

One of our employees recently asked about changing his primary beneficiary on his 401(k) account. The beneficiary form says the participant must obtain the consent of his spouse in order to make the change, but when I called the company that manages our plan for us, I was told that spousal consent rules do no apply to our plan. Now, I am really confused.

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Is There a Specific Format or Required Content for a Beneficiary Designation Form?

DWC | 09/19/17

Facts

A participant in our retirement plan just passed away. When we were reviewing our files, we were glad to see that he had completed a beneficiary designation form. On closer review, however, we noticed that the form does not have the name of the plan listed. It has his name, details about his intended beneficiaries and even a stamp showing the date we received it from him, but the plan name is missing.

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