Benefits Perspectives: Qualified plans must come to terms with death: Who is the beneficiary?

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By Dawilla Madsen, Dominick Pizzano | 09 July 2014
Numerous federal requirements govern retirement plan distributions upon the death of a participant. Other rules give a plan sponsor flexibility in the payment features it wishes to include. The determination of who receives a participant's death benefit falls into both camps. Accordingly, the qualified plan document and its underlying forms should contain tightly drafted language that is compliant with the current regulations and clear enough to guide the plan administrator on practical execution. This article examines some of the key issues that qualified retirement plan sponsors should consider when reviewing and updating plan documents and administrative procedures to ensure compliance with current beneficiary designation rules.