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Halloween Trick or Treat: Who Gets Your 401(k)?

Update your company retirement plan beneficiary now.

If you are reading this blog post, you are probably too old to be out filling up a candy bag tonight.  But you are never too old to have the daylights scared out of you.

If you are divorced or remarried, you need to look up who is the current beneficiary of your company retirement plan upon your death.

Do you have an ex-spouse?  How would you like every dollar of your company retirement plan money to be left to him or her upon your death? 

Are you remarried to someone who has children?  How would you like every dollar of your company retirement plan money to be left to his or her children instead of to your children?

In court systems all over the U.S., those exact same events happen all the time.

Each company retirement plan has a certain set of policies and procedures that have to be followed in order to update or change the beneficiary of your company retirement plan.

You might have updated your will when you divorced.  And you certainly updated your will when you remarried.  But that does not mean that you updated the beneficiary on your company retirement plan too. Updated wills are not the same thing as updated beneficiary forms on company retirement plans.

Life insurance and company retirement plan beneficiaries need to be updated with the specific forms at the life insurance company and company retirement plan provider. Each company retirement plan provider is a little bit different, so you have to make sure that your beneficiary is updated or changed correctly.

I am not a lawyer or a tax advisor, so don’t take specific advice on those topics from me.

The reason I bring this situation to your attention is that I want to use the Halloween holiday to scare you into taking the time to make sure that your company 401(k) money goes to the person or people that you want it to after your demise.

Ric Lager
Lager & Company, Inc.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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