Topic Archive: Plan Distributions

What Costs can be Covered Under a Hardship Distribution for Purchase of a Primary Residence?

DWC | 10/30/18

Facts

One of the participants in our 401(k) plan submitted a request for a hardship distribution for the purchase of a primary residence.  On review of the supporting documentation, we discovered that the purchase has already occurred and that the requested distribution is to cover the cost of renovations prior to moving in.

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Can In-Service Distributions be Taken Prior to Age 59 1/2?

DWC | 10/23/18

Facts

One of the participants in our 401(k) plan heard from a friend that it is possible to take money out of a plan while still employed.  I’ve always heard that age 59 ½ is the rule of thumb as to when in-service distributions are allowed, but this participant is only in her mid-40s.  She has about $100,000 in the plan: $65,000 in employee deferrals, $25,000 in safe harbor matching contributions, and $10,000 in profit sharing.

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Can a Charitable Organization be Named as a Plan Beneficiary?

DWC | 09/25/18

Facts

Our company sponsors both a 401(k) plan and a cash balance plan.  One of our employees is a strong supporter of a local charity.  She does not have a spouse or children, so she would like to name the charity she supports as her beneficiary for both of our retirement plans.

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Can a Company Freeze a 401(K) Account if an Employee Is Suspected of Stealing From the Company?

DWC | 05/22/18

Facts

We just discovered that one of our employees has been stealing money from the company for quite some time. We fired him as soon as we discovered the theft, and we are working with the police and our attorney to determine what recourse we have. The employee has enough in his 401(k) account with us to cover most of what he stole, but he has submitted a request to take a distribution from the plan.

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401(k) Distribution Rules: After Taking a Hardship Distribution, How Quickly Must a Participant Stop 401(k) Contributions?

DWC | 05/8/18

Facts

A participant in our 401(k) plan recently took a hardship distribution. We know we are supposed to suspend his deferrals for six months following the distribution, but we are not entirely clear on how strict that timing is and what happens at the end of the six months.

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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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Hardship Distributions Will Soon Be Less of a Hardship

Adam C. Pozek | 02/9/18

In the wee hours of this morning, Congress passed a spending bill to end the most recent government shutdown that had just begun at midnight. Although the bill was focused on funding the government and dealt with military spending and other items, a couple of retirement-plan-related provisions managed to find their way in.

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How Should a Plan Sponsor Handle Required Minimum Distributions For Missing or Nonresponsive Participants?

DWC | 01/16/18

Facts

One of our employees retired on July 31, 2017 at age 73.  During her tenure with the company she was an active participant in the 401(k) plan, accumulating a balance while having never taken a distribution to date.  Now that she’s terminated, I understand she’s subject to required minimum distributions, with the first one due by April 1, 2018.

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What Are 401(k) Plan Forfeitures and How Can They Be Used?

DWC | 10/17/17

Facts

We have a 401(k) plan that includes several different types of contributions—employee deferrals, a company-provided safe harbor match, and a profit sharing contribution. The plan has a 6-year graded vesting schedule.

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Retirement Plan Termination: Are There Special Rules for Paying Out Account Balances?

DWC | 09/26/17

Facts

The owner of our company is retiring next year, and the business will close as a result. We sponsor a 401(k) plan that we know we need to terminate, and we want to get started right away so that we have plenty of time to wrap things up before the company is dissolved next year. There are several former employees who still have balances in the plan, but most of the plan accounts are for employees who will continue working for the company right until the very end.

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