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Don’t leave beneficiary designations blank

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in Small Business Tax

Q. I’m the sole beneficiary of my late spouse’s 401(k) with Prudential. Do I rename the beneficiaries if I transfer ownership to my name? J.R., Jackson, N.J.

A. Yes. As a spousal beneficiary, one of your options is to have the 401(k) assets transferred to an account in your name. This enables you to choose the beneficiaries by filling out the necessary paperwork. Without any beneficiary designations, the plan assets will eventually become payable to your estate and distributed according to your will.

Tip: If there’s a conflict between the retirement plan designations and a legally enforceable will, the retirement plan documents will still control.

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