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Choosing survivor benefits after retirement


Guest herronisland
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Guest herronisland

Sam retires. A year later, he gets married. Our plan allows him to add survivor benefits for the new spouse.

Does (should) spousal consent apply? If so, can you please provide the applicable IRC reg?

Thanks!!!

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Guest PA consultant

That's not much information to go on. Assuming you are talking about a governmental plan, they are exempt from the qualified joint and survivor rules of ERISA. You need to check the applicable state law. It may also depend on whether it's a uniformed plan or non-uniformed plan, and whether opting for a survivor benefit requires an actuarial reduction to the retiree's benefit or not. I know of many police plans where survivor benefits are payable to whatever spouse there is at the time of death, even if it was not the same spouse when the person retired, and even if there were multiple spouses (due to divorce and remarriage) after retirement. In those plans, the surviving spouse benefit is an additional benefit for married retirees, and coverage does not cause a reduction to the retiree's benefit.

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Guest herronisland

Spousal consent applies to government plans, too. What if after retirement the retiree gets re-married and then selects a friend to be beneficiary, instead of the new spouse?

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