The seemingly staid world of retirement plan beneficiary designations was surprised by a recent federal appeals court decision suggesting that a new beneficiary could be designated by a telephone call.
Mr. Williams, an employee of Xerox Corporation, participated in two Xerox retirement plans and designated his wife as his beneficiary. When he got divorced, he decided he wanted his son to be his beneficiary instead of his ex-wife.
On two separate occasions, Mr. Williams called the Xerox benefits center and told them he wanted to designate his son as beneficiary instead of his ex-wife. Both times, the benefits center sent him new beneficiary designation forms to fill out. The forms were received by Mr. Williams but never signed. (more…)