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Friday, October 31, 2014

Getting Married

Congratulations! You're probably in the midst of updating your legal documents with a name change and/or your spouse's information. Now is the perfect time to update your beneficiary information, too. Remember, your will doesn't govern your retirement account, so it's important to keep your beneficiary information updated.  

If you're not sure what MERS plan you have, click here for help.

Jump to:
Defined Benefit Plan  •  Defined Contribution Plan  •  Hybrid Plan  •  Health Care Savings Program  •  457

Defined Benefit Plan beneficiaries

There are three types of beneficiaries you can name:

  • Refund beneficiary* — if you die before you're vested and eligible for your benefits
  • Successor refund beneficiary — if you and your named refund beneficiary die before you are vested
  • Survivor beneficiary* — someone with an insurable interest in your life who'll receive a lifetime benefit if you're vested and die before you can receive your benefits.

*Unless otherwise specified, your spouse is always your survivor and refund beneficiary, unless they waive their rights in writing.

Forms you may need to fill out:

For more information, refer to the Defined Benefit Plan Member Handbook found on our website or contact our Service Center. You can also watch a detailed video about naming beneficiaries here

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Defined Contribution Plan beneficiaries

A spouse is always the primary beneficiary and is entitled to 100 percent of benefits unless they waive this right in writing. If you have no spouse (or your spouse waives their rights), you may choose one or more persons as your primary or contingent beneficiary. You may also choose to name a trust, estate or any legal entity as your beneficiary.

Please make sure the Defined Contribution Beneficiary Designation Form (MD-003) is up-to-date with your new spouse's information.

For more information, please consult your Defined Contribution Member Handbook or contact our Service Center.

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Hybrid Plan beneficiaries

Because there are two portions to your Hybrid Plan, there are also two sets of beneficiaries:

Hybrid Part I — Your Defined Benefit Portion

There are three types of beneficiaries you can name:

  • Refund beneficiary* — if you die before you're vested and eligible for your benefits
  • Successor refund beneficiary — if you and your named refund beneficiary die before you are vested
  • Survivor beneficiary* — someone with an insurable interest in your life who'll receive a lifetime benefit if you're vested and die before you can receive your benefits.

*Unless otherwise specified, your spouse is always your survivor and refund beneficiary, unless they waive their rights in writing.

Forms you may need to fill out:

Hybrid Part II — Your Defined Contribution Portion
If you should die while you are working, you will become vested immediately in the defined contribution portion of your plan. Your primary beneficiary will also be eligible to receive your remaining account balance, and will keep all of the same investment privileges you have, including investing in any of the funds offered. If your primary beneficiary is deceased, the contingent beneficiary(ies) you name will be entitled to your defined contribution account balance. Please make sure the Defined Contribution Beneficiary Designation Form (MD-003) is up-to-date with your new spouse's information.

For more information, consult your MERS Hybrid Retirement Plan Member Handbook or call our Service Center.

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Health Care Savings Program

Your Health Care Savings Program provides coverage for post employment medical expenses for you, your spouse and any legal dependents, as well as a named beneficiary. The definition of legal dependent has been expanded to include any children less than 26 years of age.

When your family changes, make sure you make the change on the Health Care Savings Program Beneficiary Designation Form (#MD-103) at any time, before or after you leave current employment.

For more information, consult the MERS Health Care Savings Program Participant Handbook or call our Service Center.

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457 Program

Adding new family member to your records

Your beneficiary will receive your account balance upon your death and will have all the same account privileges you had, including investing in any funds offered or requesting distributions.

You may name spouse, non-spouse, children, a trust, a trust, and/or charity as a beneficiary by using the 457 Beneficiary Designation Form (MD-403). Spouses access the account using the 457 Spousal Beneficiary Distribution Request Form (MD-406).

There are two kinds of beneficiaries you can name:

  • A primary beneficiary(ies) entitled to your remaining account balance in the event of your death.
  • A contingent beneficiary entitled to receive the remaining account balance in the event of your death and your primary beneficiary's death.

The rules regarding distributions to beneficiaries vary greatly based on certain conditions. Please contact our Service Center to discuss your specific circumstances and available options.

You can also consult your MERS 457 Supplemental Retirement Program Participant Handbook.

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Disclaimer
The information contained in this Web site is being made available as a public service. The information is not intended to constitute legal or investment advice, or to replace official versions of that information. Benefit Estimates or Service Credit Purchase estimates requested through this Web site are not official descriptions of any benefits, and do not represent a promise by MERS to provide any benefit(s) to any person(s). No one can detrimentally rely upon the information provided in, or requested through this Web site. MERS reserves the right to correct any errors, and presents this information without warranties, express or implied, regarding the information?s accuracy, timeliness or completeness. If you believe the information is inaccurate, out-of-date, or incomplete, or if you have problems accessing or reading the information, please call MERS at 800.767.MERS (6377).