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Death in the middle of a 401k rollover distributions


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Our Mom passed away just after receiving two 401k rollover checks made out to a new IRA account FBO her name. My sister and I are named beneficiaries on both accounts. We have the checks in hand.

One plan is adamant that because it's a qualified distribution a new check can only be made out to the estate. The other plan is considering reclaiming the check and issuing out proper beneficiary distributions to us but remains to be seen.

It's my understanding that the distribution is a plan asset and ERISA, DOL, IRS would urge fiduciaries to work in our favor? I hope there's some more legal guidance on this that I've missed in researching. These aren't uncashed checks because we're missing or mailed to the wrong address. I know there's been a ruling and chatter from the agencies about taxes on uncashed checks and what to do with them if they stay unclaimed but... This should in theory be straightforward to fix and honor. 

Any thoughts to change their mind?

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