After getting married or having children (including adopted and stepchildren), a participant should immediately review, and possibly update, his or her retirement plan beneficiaries. Generally, the retirement plan can only pay benefits to a participant's named beneficiaries upon his or her death.
Most plans require a married participant to obtain his or her spouse's written consent to change beneficiaries and/or the form in which the plan will pay out benefits.
To change beneficiaries, the participant should:
- contact his or her employer or plan administrator to request change of beneficiary forms;
- complete those forms in accordance with their instructions, including obtaining his or her spouse's signature, if applicable; and
- submit the completed and signed forms to the employer or plan administrator.