As open enrollment season approaches for many employers, it might also be the perfect time to remind participants to review the designated beneficiaries of their retirement accounts. Recent legislation striking down a portion of DOMA means that the retirement accounts of those participants with a same sex spouse now fall under the same rules as those in a traditional marriage.
If the participant intends for another to receive the benefits instead of their current spouse, the spouse will need to waive their rights to those benefits. This applies to any same sex couple that marries in any state that recognizes same-sex marriage, regardless of what their current state of residence recognizes.
This review isn’t just important for those in a same-sex marriage. Participant’s that have experienced a change in family dynamics such as those who have recently divorced or recently remarried could also benefit from a reminder to review their beneficiaries.