Beneficiary Designations

News & Analysis as of

CMS Releases Final Rule for the Medicare Shared Savings Program

On June 4, 2015, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services ("CMS") released the highly anticipated Final Rule ("Final Rule") updating the Medicare Shared Savings Program ("Shared Savings Program"). One of the few provisions...more

Starting a New Job? Consider These Tips When Signing Up for Employee Benefits

When you start a new job you may be offered a wide range of employee benefits, from retirement accounts to life insurance. If you are the parent of a child with special needs, the decisions you make when signing up for these...more

Court Warns That Marriage Does Not Render A Spouse Automatically Entitled To Preexisting Life Insurance Policies

In a recent unpublished decision, the New Jersey Appellate Division has again stressed the importance of complying with the beneficiary designation requirements contained in life insurance policies. See Fox v. Lincoln...more

Estate Planning Pitfall: You haven’t named backup beneficiaries

To ensure that a person’s wealth is distributed according to his or her wishes, it’s important to designate both primary and secondary (or “contingent”) beneficiaries for a will, trusts, retirement plans and life insurance...more

Non-Qualified Plan Sponsors: Beneficiary Designations May Require Attention

A recent court decision highlights the importance of up-to-date beneficiary designations for participants in non-qualified retirement plans. Without up-to-date designations, the payment of the benefits of a deceased...more

Insight on Estate Planning - April/May 2015

In This Issue: - Estate planning for personal property: Why you should sweat the small stuff - How flexible is your estate plan? - Avoid state income taxes with an incomplete nongrantor trust - Estate...more

Reach Out And Designate Someone?

The seemingly staid world of retirement plan beneficiary designations was surprised by a recent federal appeals court decision suggesting that a new beneficiary could be designated by a telephone call. ...more

Ninth Circuit Rules Beneficiary Designation Forms Are Not Documents and Instruments Governing the Plan

In Becker v. Mays-Williams, 13-35069-cv, 2015 WL 348872 (9th Cir. Jan 28, 2015), the Ninth Circuit – in a matter of first impression – concluded that beneficiary designation forms were not “documents and instruments...more

Why it is Crucial to Designate a HSA Beneficiary?

As high deductible health insurance plans are becoming more popular, an important component is health savings accounts (HSA). In addition to having current tax advantages, there is specific tax treatment of HSA accounts upon...more

Are Your Beneficiary Designations Heir Tight?

An often-neglected area in the world of benefit plan administration is the beneficiary designation form. Many participants complete their beneficiary designations incorrectly because they don’t read the instructions carefully...more

Beneficiary Designations Can Cause Problems for Children With Special Needs

Private retirement savings plans, like IRAs and 401(k)s, have become the main way for American families to save for retirement. But parents of children with special needs need to be vigilant when signing up for a retirement...more

Eighth Circuit Decisions Reminds Employers Of Importance Of Granting ERISA Plan Administrators Discretion To Interpret Plan Terms

Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit released an opinion which highlights the importance of ensuring ERISA plan documents grant plan administrators the discretion to construe and interpret the...more

3 Year-End Estate Planning Action Items Most People Should Consider (But Usually Don't)

In your experience, what is the one thing people don't do but should, when it comes to year-end estate planning activities? That's the question we put to estate planning experts writing on JD Supra. Here's what we heard...more

“Magic” Words To Ensure an Ex-Spouse Remains in Will

Attorneys often encounter situations in which someone makes a will or designates a beneficiary naming their spouse as the heir or beneficiary, separates from their spouse, fails to make changes to their will or beneficiary...more

State Law Will Not Help Out In All Divorce Situations

Many states, including Florida, automatically terminate former spouses as beneficiaries under life insurance policies, annuities, and other beneficiary-designated accounts upon divorce....more

“Stuff” Every 401(k) Plan Sponsor Must Keep

George Carlin said that all you need in life is a place for your stuff. Carlin said that all a house really is; is a place for your stuff. When it comes to being a retirement plan sponsor, retirement plan sponsors need a...more

Insight on Estate Planning - April/May 2013: Estate Planning Pitfall: You’ve named a minor as beneficiary of your life insurance...

A common estate planning mistake is to designate a minor as beneficiary — or contingent beneficiary — of a life insurance policy or retirement plan. This brief article discusses why it’s better to designate one or more trusts...more

ERISA Does Not Preempt State Court Order Requiring Beneficiary to Renounce Right to Employee’s Plan Benefits, Fourth Circuit Rules

The scenario is not difficult to imagine: An employee designates her spouse as the primary beneficiary under her employer’s life insurance and retirement benefit plans. Years later, the couple divorces, and in the marital...more

A Common Estate Planning Mistake: Neglecting Beneficiary Designations

We all have hopefully made explicit designations of beneficiaries for our life insurance policies, retirement accounts and even some investment accounts which provide for payment upon death without a court order. It’s...more

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