Can a beneficiary be removed from a 401k policy?

My dad died about 8 years ago, and I’m his only child. My mom told me that his employer stated that I was a beneficiary on the policy, but I was removed. I just find this strange. I want to know when I was removed because it doesn’t seem like anything my dad would have done.

Asked on July 16, 2014 under Estate Planning, South Carolina


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the issues that have arisen. Any account that may be left to a person via beneficiary designation may be change by the account holder at any time.  So your Dad would have had to change the form with his employer. If you feel that this was done in error you can challenge the change but too much time may have passed (unless you are or were a minor then you may have a shot).  The employer may not have the legal ability to give you specific details but if there was an estate opened for your Dad it is a public record and you may be able to gather some information from there.  Good luck.

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