Retirement Planning

Reach Out And Designate Someone?

By Robert J. Lowe

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…)

Bankruptcy Protection for Inherited IRA

By Robert J. Lowe

The already complicated subject of how to handle Individual Retirement Accounts following the death of an IRA holder just got a little more complicated with the recent Supreme Court decision in Clark v. Rameker. The issue in this case was whether an “inherited IRA” enjoyed the same protections under federal bankruptcy law as other IRAs. The Supreme Court held that it did not, making it easier for creditors to reach the assets held in these types of IRAs. (more…)