If You Die Before You Begin to Receive Benefits

If you die before your retirement income begins, the full current value of your account balances in all investment funds will be payable to your beneficiary under any of the payment options elected by the beneficiary and allowed by the investment account administrator (subject to IRS minimum payment rules).

You choose a beneficiary at the time you enroll in the plan. You may change your beneficiary at any time by filing a Change of Beneficiary Form with Human Resources. If you are married, federal law requires that your spouse be your beneficiary unless your spouse consents in writing to your naming another beneficiary, and this consent is witnessed by a plan representative or notarized by a notary public.

If you designate your spouse as beneficiary and the individual later ceases to be your spouse, such designation will be deemed void and your ex-spouse will have no rights as a beneficiary unless redesignated as a beneficiary by you subsequent to becoming your ex-spouse, or as otherwise provided under a Qualified Domestic Relations Order under IRS Code Section 414(p).

If your marital status changes after you enroll in the plan (you marry, divorce or separate, or your spouse dies), be sure to contact Human Resources immediately to make any appropriate changes in your designated beneficiary. If you marry or you are divorced and then remarry, your prior beneficiary designation(s) will become invalid and your current spouse will automatically become your beneficiary unless you designate another beneficiary with your current spouse’s written consent (witnessed by a plan representative or notary public).

Under current federal income tax laws, your beneficiary must receive the entire value of your accounts within five years of your death, unless payments are made in the form of an annuity or installments to your designated beneficiary (including your spouse). If an annuity is paid, it must be an annuity with a guaranteed period or fixed period no longer than your designated beneficiary’s life expectancy.

If your spouse is your designated beneficiary, he or she may postpone the start of benefits until a later date, but not later than the date on which you would have reached age 70½.

Fidelity allows your beneficiary to receive a lump-sum distribution of the account balances, or to roll over your account balances into an IRA or another plan that accepts such rollovers, or to receive the full value of the account over a five-year period. A non-spouse beneficiary’s rollover option is limited only to a direct rollover to an IRA in accordance with federal tax law.

TIAA allows you to choose one of the following options, which are explained in detail in your annuity contract(s), for payment of the death benefit; you may also leave the choice to your beneficiary.

  1. Income for the lifetime of the beneficiary, with payments stopping at the time of his or her death.
  2. Income for the lifetime of the beneficiary, with a minimum number of payments guaranteed in any event. The period of guaranteed payments may be 10, 15, or 20 years (subject to IRS rules).
  3. Income for a fixed period (subject to IRS rules).
  4. Subject to IRS rules, the accumulation may be left on deposit with TIAA for future payment under any of the above options.
  5. A lump-sum distribution of the account balances or rollover to an IRA or other plan that will accept the rollover (spouse only).

Under TIAA rules, if you die leaving a surviving spouse and have not named a beneficiary, part of your death benefit will be paid as an annuity to your spouse, and the balance will be paid in a single sum to your estate. The income payable to your spouse will be one-half the amount that would have been payable to you had you chosen to begin your annuity payments under the option described as half benefit to survivor with a 10-year guaranteed period, on the first day of the month in which you died.