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Dec 5 2011 12:00AM


I have $500,000 in my 401(k). My wife, from my second marriage, is the 100% beneficiary. What financial resources are available to ensure my children from first marriage are beneficiaries?


“If you want your children to be beneficiaries on your 401(k), you have to name them as such on your 401(k) plan beneficiary designation forms and make sure those forms are received and accepted by your 401(k) provider,” said FPA member Michael Garry, CFP®, JD, MBA. "Nothing else matters. It doesn’t matter what is written elsewhere, or on your Will or on anything else you might have. When it comes to accounts with designated beneficiaries, like 401(k)s, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), and life insurance policies, the only thing that matters is the beneficiary designation lodged with the plan provider.

“You can always make them partial primary beneficiaries with your wife, with each having whatever percentage you’d like. If they are minors, their share should probably go into a trust provided in your Will.”

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