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What happens if I die?

Always name a beneficiary when you sign up for a 401(k) plan, and keep it up to date. Otherwise your money could go to someone you didn’t intend.

  • Beneficiary

Your 401(k) Will Go to the Beneficiary

It’s hard to think about, but do you know what will happen to your 401(k) in the event of your death? If you die, the money in your 401(k) will go to the beneficiary (or beneficiaries) you named when you signed up for the plan. Under federal law, your spouse is automatically the beneficiary of your 401(k). If you want to name someone other than your spouse, such as your children, your spouse must sign a waiver.

If you are single, your money goes to the person(s) you named as beneficiary. If you do not name anyone, it goes to your estate.

It’s important to keep your choice of 401(k) beneficiary up to date through life changes such as marriage, divorce or the birth of children. To make a change, ask your plan administrator for a beneficiary designation form.

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