Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Do You Know Who Your Beneficiaries Are?
Old 07-18-2020, 09:35 PM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 4,172
Do You Know Who Your Beneficiaries Are?

............for IRAs and Company Retirement Plans.............Note that is a different question than Do You Think You Know Who Your Beneficiaries Are?
The difference is that the former (Know) is the official list kept by banks or companies and the latter is your list.

Yesterday I got 6 e-mails from Fidelity telling me that I didn't have a beneficiary for my 401K plan. It was confusing because they also had a life insurance plan and another retirement plan and each e-mail seemed to differ as to whether I had beneficiaries for those other plans. Later (some hours later) another e-mail came saying to forget it........they had sent out those other e-mails by mistake.

In the meantime I had been probing the situation w/ Fidelity and after checking w/ rep#1 who thought he knew everything but actually knew nothing, I called back and got transferred to another rep who seemed more knowledgeable. She told me that my 401K didn't have beneficiaries but my DW's did. Although my plan had beneficiaries (confirmed) some yrs back , our group got transferred to a spinoff and although the 401K plan $$ got transferred, the beneficiary list didn't. DW stayed at the same employer and didn't have that issue.

There are other company plans that changed custodians so confirmation is needed. IRAs are in the same boat. Some were confirmed (in the past) with written acknowledgement. Some are questionable.....one bank lists the Roth IRA beneficiaries correctly w/ primary on one line, contingent on another line with appropriate labeling. The same bank lists TIRA beneficiaries separated but on the same line so it is not clear whether they consider them both primary or primary/contingent. Others I kept copies of the form I filled in but never asked for written confirmation.

Before this whole episode I was pretty confident that things were in order.
Now I'm not so sure..........I have come to appreciate VG as a custodian.
At least for company plans they seem to put the benefiaries clearly on every
quarterly statement. I need to get the rest of the world to follow in their
tracks.
kaneohe is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 07-18-2020, 09:59 PM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Brat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 6,878
Honest, VG's beneficiary options are very limited. Arrange a meeting with your Fidelity representative and review your beneficiary designations. You may need to have some signatures notorized. We took care of ours before the coronavirus19 was on the redair so the process may have changed.
__________________
Duck bjorn.
Brat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2020, 10:35 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Sunset's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Spending the Kids Inheritance and living in Chicago
Posts: 11,274
I have a bank, and they do not show the beneficiaries on the statement, nor in my Account.
I have to phone, and then they tell me.
For all I know, after I get off the phone, the rep changes it to his brother
__________________
Fortune favors the prepared mind. ... Louis Pasteur
Sunset is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2020, 10:52 PM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 1,258
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
I have a bank, and they do not show the beneficiaries on the statement, nor in my Account.
I have to phone, and then they tell me.
For all I know, after I get off the phone, the rep changes it to his brother
Put the bank accounts under a trust. Specify the beneficiaries in the trust. Only way to be certain, it would seem.
statsman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2020, 11:01 PM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,082
At E-Trade it is easy to check and change them online. I KNOW who they are but never hurts to check.

The CDs I have at banks could be another matter. Same with HSA.
Montecfo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2020, 06:20 AM   #6
Full time employment: Posting here.
racy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 739
Yes, both primary and secondary. And they are all spelled out on my investments summary page so I don't forget!
__________________
"It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating". Oscar Wilde
racy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2020, 08:28 AM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,359
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
I have a bank, and they do not show the beneficiaries on the statement, nor in my Account.
I have to phone, and then they tell me.
That would be a dealbreaker for me, I would change banks for that reason alone.
JustCurious is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2020, 08:34 AM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
OldShooter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: City
Posts: 6,507
We just do what our estate planning attorney tells us to do. For my IRA the beneficiary is DW and the contingent beneficiary is my rev trust. Why? I have no idea.

At Schwab, there is a "Beneficiaries" tab on the account "Service" page that tells all. You can change beneficiaries there, too. So if you're at Schwab you can easily answer @kaneohe's question.
OldShooter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2020, 08:38 AM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Long Island
Posts: 1,510
Spouse primary/ kiddos contingency.
__________________
Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.
MarieIG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2020, 08:45 AM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
CaliKid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Cali
Posts: 1,137
Quote:
Originally Posted by statsman View Post
Put the bank accounts under a trust. Specify the beneficiaries in the trust. Only way to be certain, it would seem.
I agree with this. Trusts are much more solid.

Problem with bank POA and beneficiaries is they lose/confuse them A LOT. I am not sure how in this computer world it happens but it really does. I have a case right now where a major financial institution has changed their mind 3 times on who the beneficiary is. Luckily it's a small amount of money so it's not going to a major problem. The lack of good record keeping is astounding to me.
__________________
______________________
Hoping to get out around September 1, 2022... I hope, I hope, I hope. Until then off to work I go....
CaliKid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2020, 08:53 AM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Historic Florida
Posts: 4,766
We do, as Credit Unions (Ours at least) add $250k NCUA insurance for every additional Beneficiary up to $1.25m.
__________________
"Never Argue With a Fool, Onlookers May Not Be Able To Tell the Difference." - Mark Twain
ShokWaveRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2020, 09:09 AM   #12
Moderator
sengsational's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 8,098
It seems perfectly clear on the Fidelity and Vanguard sites. Maybe I'll print the pages, though...I haven't done that.
sengsational is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2020, 11:37 AM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
JoeWras's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 7,323
WOAH!

I read this thread title and patted myself on the back. "Joe, of course you have beneficiaries all documented."

As I moved onto the next thread, a lightning bolt hit me. Wait. I opened an HSA with Fidelity last winter and moved it from my other administrator. I don't recall ever doing anything about beneficiaries.

I log on, and sure enough it is barren. Nothing. Nichts. Nada.

I took the time to check my 401k's held at Fidelity, and they were fine. But I had to do the dance one more time for the HSA. Did it online.

Thanks for the wake up call.
__________________
Retired Class of 2018


JoeWras is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2020, 12:01 PM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
The Cosmic Avenger's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Mid-Atlantic
Posts: 1,801
I got the same email from Fido, and ALL of my accounts have TOD/POD beneficiaries, including my 401(k).
__________________
-Looking to FIRE in the mid-2020s, which would be our mid-50s.
The Cosmic Avenger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2020, 12:55 PM   #15
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 694
Just a word on why listing the beneficiaries on your retirement accounts is SO important.

Recently I got my trust set up, and the lawyer explained to me the from the legal viewpoint, what is written in for the beneficiary on retirement accounts superceedes ANYTHING else. Trusts, wills, whatever...

So for example if you are divorced, get a new will or trust written but forget about changing the name on you 401k account from your ex to your new wife or trust, then on your death your ex WILL get your entire 401k account. From what he said there is NO way out of that unless the ex were to sign some sort of document... and let’s face it... most would never be that altruistic...

It was eye opening learning about that...
armor99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2020, 01:09 PM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
steelyman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NC Triangle
Posts: 4,803
I’m nowhere near an expert but I do recall reading a book by Ed Slott that strongly advised against naming a trust as a beneficiary on an IRA. As I recall, the reason was that the stretch option would be lost. However, with the recent changes from the SECURE act that advice may not be as relevant (I think? Corrections welcome).
__________________

steelyman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2020, 01:30 PM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Souschef's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Santa Paula
Posts: 3,293
One thing to look out for the phrase per stirpes. That takes the inheritance down the family line. Google it for complete definitions
__________________
Retired Jan 2009 Have not looked back.
AA 60/35/5 considering SS and pensions a SP annuity
WR 2% with 2SS & 2 Pensions
Souschef is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2020, 02:16 PM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,082
There is a lot of good estate planning effected via well conceived beneficiary designations. Your will is for everything ELSE.
Montecfo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2020, 02:22 PM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
OldShooter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: City
Posts: 6,507
Quote:
Originally Posted by steelyman View Post
I’m nowhere near an expert but I do recall reading a book by Ed Slott that strongly advised against naming a trust as a beneficiary on an IRA. As I recall, the reason was that the stretch option would be lost. However, with the recent changes from the SECURE act that advice may not be as relevant (I think? Corrections welcome).
This is why estates and trusts are not DIY. Mistakes are not found until it is too late to correct them and the "right" strategy is a moving target.

We just redid our estate plan to reflect the new rules. In our case, most of our net worth is in IRAs and Roths. Most of it will go into trusts for grandkids and DS, so the trusts have to be the account benicficiaries. Re taxes, income that the trust receives but is not distributed is taxed at the high trust rate (35% IIRC), so we expect that the trusts will take the required distributions within the ten year requirement and will distribute the money in the year received -- avoiding trust-level taxes. The trust then closes at the ten year point. For one grandchild's special needs trust we expect that the trustee will want to have it last longer than 10 years, so that one gets the Roths. Then the trustee can take and hold/not distribute the Roth distributions within the 10 year requirement but there is nothing to tax.

Edit to clarify:Our rev trusts are the beneficiaries of the IRAs; they then fund the irrev trusts after both our deaths. The purpose of the irrev trusts is to protect the inheritance from going directly into the hands of people who are not equipped to manage it and to protect it from untoward events like judgments, divorces, slick salespeople, etc.
OldShooter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2020, 02:37 PM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Rianne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Champaign
Posts: 3,456
Quote:
Originally Posted by steelyman View Post
I’m nowhere near an expert but I do recall reading a book by Ed Slott that strongly advised against naming a trust as a beneficiary on an IRA. As I recall, the reason was that the stretch option would be lost. However, with the recent changes from the SECURE act that advice may not be as relevant (I think? Corrections welcome).
Yes, we have a living trust but for the tIRA we had to list the beneficiaries separately with VG. Our problem is EE Bonds and I Bonds. Hopefully we’ll cash those out before we die. They’re paper bonds in a lock box > $120K. They’ll go to probate.
__________________
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
Rianne is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Stuff You Didn't Know You Didn't Know mickeyd Other topics 21 08-07-2017 03:33 PM
"You know ... you know" Sojourner Other topics 60 03-01-2017 12:00 AM
Will/trust disbursement wrt TODs/beneficiaries RunningBum FIRE and Money 3 01-12-2010 01:17 AM
Your accounts will pass to your account beneficiaries regardless of your will JustCurious FIRE and Money 21 03-22-2008 03:35 AM
Naming Beneficiaries JohnDoe FIRE and Money 6 07-02-2007 03:41 PM

» Quick Links

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:37 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.