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Benefits to Surviving Spouse


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Participant in qualified money purchase pension plan (also subject to Title I of ERISA) dies. Surviving spouse is sole beneficiary. Default form of benefit is single life annuity paid for with entire vested account balance, but surviving spouse can elect a lump sum (which, in fact, is what he wishes to do).

Other than describing his options in plain English, and providing the 402(f) notice, are there any other types of disclosures specifically required by statute or regulation?

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The annuity notice rules apply. I don't know if that is included in what you mean by options.

If the beneficiary has the option of deferring the start of payment, a notice about the consequences of failing to defer is required. The notice is in addition to the 402(f) notice and is a product of the PPA. The IRS has issued a model notice of sorts, but it is better to follow the proposed regulations.

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QDRO, I am having difficulty finding the link between the "annuity notice rules" OR the requirement to provide notice of the consequences of not deferring in the context I have described: the participant has croaked, and we are dealing with the surviving spouse's right to elect either an annuity contract purchase and distribution, or a cash lump sum (or to defer until a later time).

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Sorry, folks, but I am not seeing how any of the mentioned regulatory requirements apply after the death of the participant. Clearly 411(a)(11) doesn't apply after the death of the participant because the regs. under 411(a)(11) say that it doesn't. I am not seeing any linkage in the 417 regs or any other regs to the "annuity notice" or "right to defer notice" applying after the death of the participant. If I am missing the forest through the trees I would appreciate a kick in the head.

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Belgrath, I know that you can't force a distribution to surviving spouse prior to later of deceased pparticipant's 62nd birthday or NRA. However, I can't find specific notice requirements applicable post-death anywhere in the regs. I am not questioning the prudence of reminding the surviving spouse of his rights, but I am looking for specific regulatory requirements applicable to this situation identical or comparable to the requirements applicable during the participant's life, and I can't find any.

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