One of the most frequent questions we get is “What can happen to my money if I don’t review my beneficiaries and I divorce”? If you divorce and do not change your beneficiary, your ex-spouse has the possibility of still inheriting your funds. This is because a designated beneficiary trumps the directions found in a Will. This issue has occurred on a number of occasions and has even been argued in front of the Supreme Court. In the case of Hillman vs. Maretta. Mr. Hillman had his first wife Judy listed as his beneficiary. Years later after they divorced and he remarried, he never changed his beneficiary from Judy to his second wife. When he died, there were legal questions as to who would receive the money. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Ms. Maretta, the first wife, and Mr. Hillman’s widow, the second wife, received nothing. So, be sure to always go back and make any necessary changes if you divorce.
There are advantages to having your beneficiaries specifically designated. First is the ability to direct the funds to the people you wish. Second is the ability to avoid probate as the assets will pass directly to your named beneficiary. Third is the ability to withdraw funds over a longer period of time, allowing the funds to remain invested and grow tax-deferred or tax-free, depending on the type of 401(k) plan you have: traditional tax-deferred or Roth. Forth is the ability to have peace of mind, which is often the most valuable advantage of all.
Now that you know the Importance of Beneficiaries on your Lockheed 401(k), it’s time to take a few moments to log into your LM People and review who you have listed. Don’t forget to review the beneficiaries for all your other retirement accounts, annuities and life insurance policies!
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Be sure and check back next week for more incredibly valuable information. Cheers!
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