Beneficiary Designations for Employee Retirement Benefits
401(k), IRA and Pension Plan Beneficiary Designations
Disputes over employee benefits beneficiary designations are commonplace when dealing with pensions, 401(k) plans, and IRA plans. It is important you hire an attorney experienced with ERISA and non-ERISA retirement plans. At the Law Offices of Joseph & Eugene, LLC our experienced attorneys are licensed in both the federal and state courts of Missouri to handle claims related to a 401(k), IRA or pension.
It is important to educate yourself early in the process and at least consult with an attorney if you have been denied the proceeds of a retirement account. Typically, the file built by the insurance company or employee benefit administrator is the only record on which an administrative appeal and any potential lawsuit is determined. Getting an experienced attorney involved early in the process will help you get in the appropriate documentation before you are time barred.
Spouse or Ex-Spouse Named as Beneficiary of Employee Benefit Plan
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) governs most pensions and retirement accounts. Generally, the spouse of the owner of the pension or retirement account is entitled to receive 50 percent of the money regardless of who is listed under the beneficiary designation so long as she has not completed a spousal waiver and another is listed as the beneficiary. To execute a spousal waiver, the spouse usually has to be above the age of 35.
Where most issues arise is when the owner of the pension or retirement account remarries or divorces and fails to remove the ex-spouse as the beneficiary. If the ex-spouse was never taken off of the beneficiary designation he or she may have a claim to the pension benefits. In Kennedy v. Plan Administrator for DuPont Savings & Investment Plan, the Court spoke of a “plan documents rule” stating that the administrator act “in accordance with the documents and instruments” of the plan instead of delving into whether a divorce decree waived his or her entitlement to benefits. 555 U.S. 285, 129 S.Ct. 865, 172 L.Ed.2d 662 (2009). The cases dealing with ex-spouses are very fact sensitive and should be reviewed by an experienced attorney.
If you are the spouse or ex-spouse and you have been denied the benefits of a retirement plan contact the experienced attorneys at Joseph & Eugene, LLC for a free consultation.
401(k) and IRA Retirement Benefits
A 401(k) is generally governed by ERISA. Despite what is in a divorce decree, the payout will go to an ex-spouse if they are still listed under the beneficiary designation. On the other hand, IRA’s are generally controlled by state law. The state law is different than employee benefit plans governed by ERISA. It is important to contact an experienced employee benefit attorney if you have been denied the benefits of a 401(k), IRA or pension.
Hire an Experienced Insurance Claim Denial Attorney
Our results speak for themselves. Our experienced insurance claim denial attorneys have never lost a case. At Joseph & Eugene, LLC our lawyers handle cases throughout Missouri and Illinois. Don’t delay if you have been denied your insurance claim. Contact our knowledgeable lawyers today at (314) 881-8338 or send us an Insurance Denial question. We look forward to hearing from you. All communications are returned promptly.
Joseph & Eugene, LLC
222 South Central Avenue, STE 1003
St. Louis, MO 63105
If your retirement benefits were denied based off of an alleged beneficiary change, please contact our experienced life insurance attorneys.