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Alternate payee dies before collecting on QDRO

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QDRO was filed post divorce and signed by both parties.  The pension plan belongs to the wife.  Husband received a set amount and the divorce agreement notes that he will remove the monies and either a) roll to an IRA or b) collect cash and pay tax penalties.  Parties and judge signed QDRO on 4/14/2010.  Alternate payee did not remove the monies as far as we can tell.  He died in October of 2016.  The QDRO did not identify beneficiaries.  The husband did not remarry and had no will.  He shares on biological child with the ex-wife and two stepchildren.  What happens to his portion of the pension?

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There are way too many unanswered questions here in my mind. 

What kind of plan are we talking about?

Was the DRO sent to the plan?  Was it accepted by the plan as qualified and thus making it a QDRO?

If that happened why didn't the plan separate the funds? 

What is your relationship to this?  Do you work for the plan?  Are you the ex-spouse?  

If you work for the plan does the plan document say anything about this?  It might tell you who the Alternate Payee's beneficiary is if they pass before the benefits are paid. 

I would recommend start by talking to the people in charge of the plan and start getting basic information like this. 

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It is not clear whether you are dealing with a defined contribution plan like a 401(k) plan, or a cash balance pension plan, a defined benefit plan.  

If the QDRO was accepted by the Plan Administrator (you didn't say), then the Plan Administrator would normally contact the Alternate Payee and ask how he wants to receive his share, either as a rollover to an IRA or other eligible retirement account, or as a direct taxable distribution (but no 10% early withdrawal penalty if the Alternate Payee is under age 59-1/2).  The Alternate Payee does not "remove the monies".  And what do you mean when you say "as far as we can tell"?   Who is we?  What is your relationship to the matter? Why don't you know whether or not the money was removed?  Haven't you talked with the Plan Administrator?     

In all events the amount payable to the Alternate Payee per the QDRO belongs to the Alternate Payee.  If he dies before it was rolled over or distributed to him it will pass to his named beneficiary if one was designated by him, or to the default beneficiary named in the plan documents (spouse, children, parents, etc.), or to the Alternate Payee's estate where it will become: (i) part of the Alternate Payee's testamentary estate if he had a Will, or, (ii) pass by intestate distribution to those beneficiaries set forth in state law. 

If you don't provide the facts in full and if you don't ask the right questions you will not get the correct answers. 


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