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May a charity be named as the beneficiary of a qualified plan?


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A charity can be named as the beneficiary of a qualified plan, but it can't be a designated beneficiary.

If only part of the benefits are to be paid to a charity, a separate account or separate share should be established at the beneficiary determination date. The life expectancy of the designated beneficiary can be used to determine the RMD. Without a separate account or separate share of the charity's portion of the benefit, however, only the participant's life expectancy can be used.

Lori Friedman

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See regs under 1.401(a)(9)

A charity has no life expectancy therefore cannot be considered a designated beneficiary for life expectancy determination. If more than one beneficiary is named and the shares are not segregated, then the account is treated as not having a beneficiary for life expectancy determination purposes and the life expectancy of the participant/account owner in the year of death is the L.E. used for determining the distribution period after death. See below

4.3 Q-3. May a person other than an individual be considered to be a designated beneficiary for purposes of section 401(a)(9)?

A-3. No, only individuals may be designated beneficiaries for purposes of section 401(a)(9). A person that is not an individual, such as the employee's estate, may not be a designated beneficiary.[96] If a person other than an individual is designated as a beneficiary of an employee's benefit, the employee will be treated as having no designated beneficiary for purposes of section 401(a)(9), even if there are also individuals designated as beneficiaries. However, see A-5 of this section for special rules that apply to trusts and A-2 and A-3 of §1.401(a)(9)-8 for rules that apply to separate accounts.[97]

RMD REGS

Scroll down a bit after going to link.

JEVD

Making the complex understandable.

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In other words, you can name a charity as the beneficiary of your retirement account… and this means that the charity will inherit the assets…however, the retirement account will be treated as not-having a designated beneficiary for purposes of calculating pre-and post death RMD amounts

Life and Death Planning for Retirement Benefits by Natalie B. Choate
https://www.ataxplan.com/life-and-death-planning-for-retirement-benefits/

www.DeniseAppleby.com

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just FYI, I have had problems with even large employers about this. Some adminitrators will tell you charities are not permitted to be named, simply because they have never seen it before!

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