The Importance of filling out Beneficiary Designation Forms

Ruiz v Publix Super Markets, Inc.

 

Whether you have any Estate Planning in place or not, you need to understand this recent case

 

There was a case decided in a Florida Federal District Court in March of 2017 called Ruiz vs Publix Super Markets regarding an improperly filled out Beneficiary Designation Form.  

 

The employee was a participant in the company’s retirement plan and had filled out a beneficiary designation form.  These forms are used to tell the Plan Administrator who to give the money to, if there is any left, after the employee “participant” passes away.  The employee had done so, but down the road had decided to change the beneficiary.  Well, the plan documents provide very specific instructions on how to fill out the beneficiary designation forms.  On this occasion, even though the employee called the administrator, the employee filled the form out incorrectly.  The administrator refused to give the death benefits to the new beneficiary and instead gave them to the original beneficiary.

 

The Federal District Court held that the plan administrator had acted properly because substantial compliance is not enough and that the U.S. Supreme Court has stated that the plan administrator must act in accordance with the plan documents.  Further, the court stated that there was no justification to inquire into the expression of intent that does not comply with the plan documents.

 

So, as you can imagine, even if you don’t have any estate planning in place, the proper filling out of your plans beneficiary designation forms is important.  Likewise, if you do have a Revocable Living Trust, or perhaps a Stand Alone Retirement Trust, it is equally important to have your forms filled out correctly.  If you’d like to read about the advantages of estate planning, see my blog about Revocable Living Trusts, and Stand Alone Retirement Trusts.

 

See a lot of helpful estate planning information on my website at: www.myestate-plan.com

 

My most important job is to listen to your wishes then suggest solutions.  Call today and let’s start planning!  I always answer my own phone, and I even make house calls!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Dan Powell

 

1-619-980-2297

 

 

****Reminder****

Just like my website, nothing in this blog is intended as legal advice. If you need legal advice, contact an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. I am licensed to practice law in California.  Further, please remember that I speak in generalities in my blog (and on my website). There are so many different factors that can contribute and completely change the outcome that it would not be practical to discuss all of them here. This is why I speak in generalities. Thanks again for reading.

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This document is for informational purposes only.  Nothing in this is to be considered legal advice.  Nothing in this shall create an attorney/client relationship, nor shall it create a confidential relationship.  If you need legal advice (in California), feel free to contact me or someone licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.  I assume no liability or responsibility for actions taken, or not taken, as a result of reading this information.

Friday, 21 April 2017 18:02

Standalone Retirement Trusts - An Intro

Stand-Alone Retirement Trusts

 

Part 1 – An Introduction

 

In a recent Supreme Court case called Clark v. Rameker, the Court held – unanimously by the way – that an inherited IRA cannot be shielded from creditors or bankruptcy. The case involved a woman that inherited her mom’s IRA, and years later declared bankruptcy. Without a crystal ball, that would have been impossible to predict in this case, but it happened. With a little structuring of this type of asset, we can avoid losing it all in a bad situation such as this. The device used in this type of estate planning is called a Standalone Retirement Trust, or SRT for short.


Another great benefit to using a Stand Alone Retirement Trust is that we can maximize the “stretch”. The Stretch is the effect of leaving as much of this type of asset alone inside the account to continue to grow over time. The effect is huge.


I will address other aspects and benefits of the Standalone Retirement Trust in future blogs, so please check my website for additional information.

Thanks for reading! If you like, please feel free to call me today and we can Get Planning!

See lots of estate planning information on my website at: www.myestate-plan.com

 

 

Dan Powell

 

1-619-980-2297

 

 

****Reminder****

Just like my website, nothing in this blog is intended as legal advice. If you need legal advice, contact an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. I am licensed to practice law in California.  Further, please remember that I speak in generalities in my blog (and on my website). There are so many different factors that can contribute and completely change the outcome that it would not be practical to discuss all of them here. This is why I speak in generalities. Thanks again for reading.

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Saturday, 21 May 2016 01:02

Standalone Retirement Trust Part 1

Standalone Retirement Trust – Estate Planning for IRA’s

 

Clark vs Rameker

Clark versus Rameker was a case that was heard by the United States Supreme Court and it was a 9 to 0 decision.  The decision was handed down in June of 2014.  The Supreme Court held that inherited IRAs are not “retirement funds” within the meaning of federal bankruptcy law.  The effect of this decision is that inherited IRAs are available to satisfy creditors’ claims if the person inheriting them declares bankruptcy. 

 

Because of this decision, and if you’d like to protect your beneficiary’s inheritance, for the purposes of Estate Planning, we need to take some steps to make sure your beneficiary is protected.

 

In order to protect your beneficiary, a Standalone Retirement Trust (or SRT) should be created instead of just naming a beneficiary on your IRA.  Otherwise, if your beneficiaries have creditors, lawsuit judgments against them, or other predators, the IRA funds can be reached.  Naming a beneficiary on your IRA instead of using a Standalone Retirement Trust means the IRA funds will be given “outright” and gifts given outright are more exposed and generally not as preferred as giving a gift in Trust.  A Trust provides more protection than a gift given outright will ever provide.  Please see my Blog for more on gifts given outright versus gifts given in trust

 

Essentially what happens is that the funds will go to a third party Trust and because the Beneficiary did not create the Trust, did not use his or her own money for the Trust, and cannot modify the Trust, certain protections can be utilized to protect the beneficiary.  The trust must be carefully drafted in order to properly manage the funds and prevent mandatory payouts that will require emptying the IRA in as little as five years.  The Trust must be drafted in such a way as to ensure that the Trust itself qualifies as a “Designated Beneficiary.” The effect of having the Trust as the designated beneficiary means that the Trust will be able to take out what is called “minimum required distributions” (these are minimum dollar amounts that, according to the rules, must be payed out of the IRA) according to the beneficiary’s life expectancy, and not the plan participant’s life expectancy.

 

Please see my Blog for more discussion of Standalone Retirement Trusts and other aspects of Estate Planning.

 

Please feel free to give me a call and we can establish your Revocable Living Trust, Standalone Retirement Trust, Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT), or other Estate Planning goals today.  If you have specific estate planning objectives, I can help create solutions. 

 

See lots of estate planning information on my website at: www.myestate-plan.com

 

Thanks for reading.

 

William Daniel Powell

619-980-2297

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

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This document is for informational purposes only.  Nothing in this is to be considered legal advice.  Nothing in this shall create an attorney/client relationship, nor shall it create a confidential relationship.  If you need legal advice (in California), feel free to contact me or someone licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.  I assume no liability or responsibility for actions taken, or not taken, as a result of reading this information

Also, please remember that I speak in generalities in my blog and my website. There are so many different factors that can contribute and completely change the outcome that it would be impractical to discuss all of them here.

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