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11 Retirement Plan Beneficiary Designation Forms (11 Forms, 32 Pages)

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SAVE when you purchase all 11 Retirement Plan Beneficiary Designation Forms (11 Forms, 32 Pages).

A person’s Retirement Plan Beneficiary Designation Form is an estate planning document of equal importance with a Will or a Trust. It is not unusual for a person to transfer more wealth by the terms of such a Form than by a Will. The disposition of a person’s retirement plan assets is controlled and determined by what the Beneficiary Designation Form says, regardless of what may be written in a Will or Trust. There are far too many cases and examples in the law of ignored, or poorly written or hastily prepared Beneficiary Designation Forms leading to unnecessary and unwanted
acceleration of retirement plan benefits, disposition of assets to unintended beneficiaries, such as former spouses or minor children, higher than necessary payments of estate taxes and income taxes, and a reduction or loss of the tax-deferred status of plan benefits.


These concerns can be avoided by a properly drafted Beneficiary Designation Form that is reviewed and revised (if appropriate) from time to time to address the client’s changing life and financial issues, as well as changes in the law.


Advisors should be sure to know what the client’s Retirement Plan allows in terms of beneficiary options. Make certain the Plan allows what the client desires to accomplish by the Beneficiary Designation Form. When drafting a Beneficiary Designation Form, the goal is to provide sufficient guidance and direction to further the estate planning goals of the participant in the Plan without imposing undue burdens on the plan administrators – whose cooperation is essential in these situations. Keep the directions as simple as possible, without sacrificing the important planning objectives of your client. Avoid requiring the plan administrator to have to make legal decisions or to assume any of the functions which are properly those of an executor or trustee, or to have to take into account information that is external to the Plan itself.

The Forms that follow are intended to address the range of “typical” Beneficiary Designation Forms that estate planners are most likely to encounter, including transfers of plan benefits to spouses outright, to children outright, to a spouse in a QTIP Trust, to children in trust, pursuant to a plan where a disclaimer may be involved, to a family credit shelter trust, to subtrusts for children and finally to charity. Many of these Beneficiary Designation Forms need to be coordinated with the client’s other estate planning documents – whether a revocable trust or a will – to be certain that there is a flow of assets and a symmetry of planning that allows the client’s objectives to be satisfied in a way that makes sense to the plan administrator, the trust or estate administrator, and the intended beneficiaries of the Retirement Plan.  

Here are the 11 Fully-Editable Forms included and individual form pricing:


1. Beneficiary Designation Form: Primary Beneficiary: Spouse Outright; Secondary Beneficiary: Children Outright - $29
This is a basic form by which the plan participant names the surviving spouse as the outright plan beneficiary. This gives the surviving spouse the option to roll over the plan benefit to the spouse’s own IRA. If the spouse does not survive, this Form provides for an outright distribution to the children or to the descendants of any children who do not survive the participant.

2. Beneficiary Designation Form: Primary Beneficiary: Spouse Outright; Secondary Beneficiary: Children Outright Subject to Trust for Children Younger than Age 35
 - $29
This Form provides for an outright disposition of the Plan benefit to the surviving spouse. If there is no surviving spouse, the Plan benefit passes to children and other descendants (by right of representation) outright. However, if any child or other descendant has not yet reached age thirty-five, the Plan benefit is directed to be paid to a Trust for the benefit of any person under age thirty-five until that age is reached. The Form provides for two alternative dispositions here – the first to a Trust already created by the participant’s planning (insert an appropriate cross-reference here) - the second alternative establishes a Trust intended to continue until age thirty-five is reached (insert the name of the trustee, a possible successor, and any other desired trust terms here). Note that in both alternatives, the trustee is instructed to comply with the rules addressing required minimum distributions.

3. Beneficiary Designation Form: Primary Beneficiary: Spouse Outright; Secondary Beneficiary: Children Outright But Custodian Account for Minor and/or Disabled Beneficiaries
 - $29
This Form provides for an outright disposition of the Plan benefit to the surviving spouse. If there is no surviving spouse, the Plan benefit passes to children and other descendants (by right of representation) outright. However, if a child or more remote descendant has not yet reached age 21, the Plan benefit is directed to be held by a custodian for the beneficiary under the appropriate Minors’ Act. If a beneficiary is disabled, the Plan benefit may continue to be held for the disabled person by the decedent’s legal representative. (The draftsman may wish to insert more specific directions as to the management of a disabled beneficiary’s interest here – temporary arrangement, special needs trust, etc.).

4. Beneficiary Designation Form: Primary Beneficiary: Children Outright; Remote Descendants as Successor Beneficiaries
 - $29
This Form directs the Plan benefit to be divided into separate shares for the participant’s children, and such shares to be paid outright to such children. If a child does not survive the participant, the Plan benefit passes to the descendants of a deceased child by right of representation – also outright. If desired here, the draftsman can add additional provisions for either trusts or custodian accounts for younger and/or disabled beneficiaries as provided in Form III, above.

5. Beneficiary Designation Form: Primary Beneficiary: Spouse Outright; Possible Disclaimer Options – Either outright to children, in favor of a Family Trust; or to a Trust solely for the benefit of Children
 - $29
This Form begins by leaving the Plan benefit outright to the surviving spouse. If the spouse accepts this designation, nothing further need be done. However, this Form also provides that should the surviving spouse disclaim all or any part of the Plan benefit, such disclaimed benefit passes to children outright. In the event the option of a disclaimer is desired, but the outright disposition to children is not desired, Alternative 1 provides that the Plan benefit shall pass to a Family Trust. The surviving spouse may be a beneficiary of a Family Trust, and the decedent’s Family Trust should be cross-referenced here. If, instead, it is desired that the disclaimer by the surviving spouse lead to a trust that is solely for the benefit of children, then Alternative 2 should be used. Alternative 2A directs the Plan benefit to a Trust already created by the participant; Alternative 2B provides for the creation of such a Trust. In Alternative 2A the appropriate cross-reference should be made; in Alternative 2B additional trust provisions, as desired, may be added. Note the inclusion of required minimum distribution directions in all discussions of payments to trusts.

6. Beneficiary Designation Form: Primary Beneficiary: A QTIP Trust for the Benefit of the Surviving Spouse – with Required Trust Provisions
 - $29
This Form designates a QTIP Trust for the surviving spouse as the Plan beneficiary. Due to Rev. Rul 2006-26, there are a number of issues to be addressed here. While the Beneficiary Designation Form itself is relatively simple, naming the QTIP Trust as the Plan beneficiary, there are a number of required provisions that must be included in the QTIP Trust itself to assure that the participant will achieve the desired result with respect to this designation. The provisions that must be incorporated in the QTIP Trust are also a part of this Form. The term “income” must be specifically defined to comply with Rev. Rul. 2006-26. The spouse must have the right to require the trust property to be made “productive”. There must be a requirement for not less than the required minimum distribution to be paid to the trust annually. A QTIP election must be made for both the Plan and the Trust. All of these provisions are included below.

7. Beneficiary Designation Form: Primary Beneficiary: A Credit Shelter Trust
 - $29
This Form designates the credit shelter trust as the primary beneficiary of a Plan. It may be used in situations where the marital share of an estate plan is already being funded with other property and optimal estate tax planning suggests that the credit shelter trust be the beneficiary of the retirement plan assets. It may also be used in the case of a “blended family” where the spouse is viewed as one of, but not necessarily the only primary beneficiary and it is desired to create a more immediate benefit for children or other heirs. The participant’s credit shelter trust should be cross-referenced here.

8. Beneficiary Designation Form: Primary Beneficiary: Subtrusts for Children
 - $29
This Form names subtrusts created for the participant’s children as the Plan beneficiaries. The IRS takes the position in its rulings that if plan benefits are paid to a “master trust” and then divided into subtrusts for each beneficiary, the age of the oldest beneficiary of the master trust governs all required minimum distributions, regardless of how long (if at all) the plan benefits were actually held in the master trust. Accordingly, to avoid having the age of the oldest beneficiary be the measure for required distributions, it is necessary (and approved by the IRS) to have the plan benefit paid to designated subtrusts. That will enable the age of each subtrust beneficiary to be the age used for required minimum distributions to the trust for that beneficiary.

9. Beneficiary Designation Forms for Transfers to Charity
 - $29
This Form provides several alternative beneficiary designations for charities. Since retirement plan benefits are generally subject to both income tax and estate tax, they are excellent choices to be used to satisfy the charitable goals of a plan participant. In the Alternative a, b, and c designations below, a simple statement designating either the entire plan, a fixed dollar amount from the plan or a percentage of the plan balance as of date of death as the amount payable to charity is all that is necessary. Alternative d. makes reference to the charitable gift from the Plan being a percentage of the participant’s estate. Plan administrators may be wary of this designation, as it requires them to utilize information which is not part of the Plan, hence the indemnification language allowing the administrator to rely on the information provided by the representative of the decedent’s estate.

10.
 See-Through Trust For IRAs and Retirement Plans - $99
This Form of an IRA and Retirement Plan Beneficiary See-Through Trust is designed to distribute the Grantor’s Retirement Plans, qualified plans as well as IRAs, to a trust as the designated beneficiary of the Retirement Plans for the lifetime benefit of a child of the Grantor. The required minimum distributions rules must be observed, and the Trustee is authorized in its discretion to make payments to the Beneficiary as well as to the spouse and children of the Beneficiary. Provision is also made for additional issue of the Beneficiary.The Trust is designed to allow the trust property to be transferred in such a manner so as to qualify for Inherited IRA treatment, and to allow the  minimum required distributions to be paid, if desired, by the Trustee over the lifetime of the Beneficiary.

11. Source of Payment of Decedent’s Taxes and Expenses - $29
This Form is actually not a Beneficiary Designation Form, but is rather a clause that planners should consider inserting in the governing instrument (will or trust) of the participant’s estate plan. The purpose of the clause is to attempt to direct all payments of taxes and administration expenses arising as the result of the deceased participant’s death away from the retirement plan assets that may be included in the participant’s estate. Since a planning advantage of leaving retirement assets to designated beneficiaries is the opportunity to stretch out the required minimum distributions over the lifetimes of such beneficiaries, the opportunities for income tax deferral and asset value growth are significant. If the retirement plan asset is eroded by a forced contribution to the taxes or administration expenses due at the participant’s death, this planning opportunity is reduced as well.


RELATED CLE COURSE: Please note:
"Boomer Generation: Practical Retirement Strategies" and "Retirement Benefits: Sophisticated Estate Planning" courses are currently available on audio CD and DVD at www.nlfcle.com and online at www.nlfonline.com. On both of these web sites, click on your state (or any state if you do not care about earning CLE credits) and scroll down to the course title(s), which appear under the heading "Estate Planning".


Author:
Steven G. Siegel is president of The Siegel Group, a Morristown, New Jersey - based national consulting firm specializing in tax consulting, estate planning and advising family business owners and entrepreneurs. Mr. Siegel holds a BS from Georgetown University, a JD from Harvard Law School and an LLM in Taxation from New York University.

He is the author of several books, including: Planning for An Aging Population; Business Entities: Start to Finish; Taxation of Divorce and Separation; Income Taxation of Estates and Trusts, Preparing the Audit-Proof Federal Estate Tax Return, Putting It Together: Planning Estates for $5 million and Less, Family Business Succession Planning, Business Acquisitions: Representing Buyers and Sellers in the Sale of a Business; Dynasty Trusts; Planning with Intentionally-Defective Grantor Trusts; The Federal Gift Tax: A Comprehensive Analysis; Charitable Remainder Trusts, Grantor Trust Planning: QPRTs, GRATs and SCINs, The Estate Planning Course, The Retirement Planning Course, Retirement Distributions: Estate and Tax Planning Strategies; The Estate Administration Course, Tax Strategies for Closely-Held Businesses, and Tort Litigation Settlements: Tax and Financial Issues.

Mr. Siegel has lectured extensively throughout the United States on tax, business and estate planning topics on behalf of numerous organizations, including National Law Foundation, AICPA, CCH, National Tax Institute, National Society of Accountants, and many others.  He has served as an adjunct professor of law at Seton Hall and Rutgers University law schools.

The Siegel Group provides consulting services to accountants, attorneys, financial planners and life insurance professionals to assist them with the tax, estate and business planning and compliance issues confronting their clients. Based in Morristown, New Jersey, the Group has provided services throughout the United States. The Siegel Group does not sell any products. It is an entirely fee-based organization.
Contact the Siegel Group through its president, Steven G. Siegel, e-mail: steve@siegel.net.

 

 

 

 

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