If my mom passed away last year and left my stepdad as the beneficiary of her 401k but before he got the check he passed away, who should be entitled to those proceeds?

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If my mom passed away last year and left my stepdad as the beneficiary of her 401k but before he got the check he passed away, who should be entitled to those proceeds?

Would it be his kids or my mom’s kids? He died a month after my mother?

Asked on February 13, 2016 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Generally, the passage to the beneficiary is automatic, and the receipt of the check is just a formality.  So... if the wording on the beneficiary plan is generic, then the funds passed to your step-dad... and then to any of his heirs.
However, some people have specialized beneficiary designations which require a beneficiary to survive for 30 or 60 days before they are formally deemed the heir.  So... before any final decisions are made, someone needs to visit with the 401K administrators to determine the exact beneficiary designation.


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