WAC 415-103-275

How do I designate a beneficiary, and who will receive a distribution if I die before retirement?

This section applies to members commissioned on or after January 1, 2003.
(1) You may designate or change a beneficiary by submitting a Beneficiary Designation form to the department. Your designation will become effective upon the department’s receipt of the form, only if it is completed properly and signed by you and a witness.
(2) You may name one or more of the following as a beneficiary or beneficiaries:
(a) An organization or person, including unborn or later adopted children. However, unborn or later adopted children must be specifically designated as beneficiaries on the form. You must indicate the date of birth for any living person you name as a beneficiary.
(b) Your estate.
(c) An existing trust, or a trust to be established at a later date or under your last will. If you designate a trust that is not in existence at the time of your death, or is not created under your last will, the designation will be invalid. Before making distribution to any trust, the department must receive:
(i) A copy of the entire trust document;
(ii) The name, address, telephone number of the current trustee; and
(iii) The tax identification number.
(3) You may name contingent beneficiaries in addition to primary beneficiaries.
(4) You may change your beneficiary designation at any time.
(5) A change in marital status may invalidate your prior designation.
(6) Your named beneficiary may not necessarily receive a distribution if you die prior to retirement. (See example three.) Distribution is governed by RCW 43.43.295.
(7) If your surviving spouse is eligible to receive a benefit under RCW 43.43.295(2), but your spouse dies before requesting a distribution, your minor children and your spouse's minor children may elect to receive either:
(a) Your accumulated contributions; or
(b) A monthly benefit, share and share alike, until each child reaches the age of majority. See example four.
example one.
Facts
John, a member, completes a Beneficiary Designation form. In the place on the form reserved for persons, he names his daughter Ann. He checks the box to indicate that Ann is a primary beneficiary.
In the place on the form reserved for trust/organizational beneficiaries, he lists the "Barbara Trust." His daughter Barbara is the trust beneficiary. He checks the box to indicate that the trust is a primary beneficiary.
Result
At John's death, Ann and the Barbara Trust are the primary beneficiaries. The department will require the name of the trustee, the tax identification number, a copy of the entire trust and other information specified in this rule before distribution to the trust. Distribution is governed by RCW 43.43.295.
example two.
Facts
John, a member, completes a Beneficiary Designation form. In the place on the form reserved for persons, he names his daughter Ann. He checks the box to indicate that Ann is a primary beneficiary.
In the place on the form reserved for trust/organizational beneficiaries, he lists his daughter Barbara personally; i.e., no trust name is provided. John checks the corresponding box to indicate a primary beneficiary designation. At John's death, the department learns that John has created no trusts.
Result
Because John has created no trust, the designation of the Barbara Trust is void. Barbara, personally, will not be a beneficiary.
example three.
Facts
When she became a WSPRS member, Joan named her mother as her beneficiary. Joan later married, but did not file a new beneficiary form before she died with eleven years of service.
Result
Unless required to do otherwise by court order, the department will comply with RCW 43.43.295(2) and pay Joan's surviving spouse either a retirement allowance or lump sum. In this case, Joan's mother will not receive a distribution.
example four.
Facts
John is a member with eleven years of service. He and his wife Mary have a total of three minor children. They have one child together, and each has one child from a previous marriage.
John and Mary were in a skydiving accident. John died instantly making Mary eligible for a benefit under RCW 43.43.295(2). However, Mary died the following week before requesting a distribution from the department.
Result
Since Mary died before requesting a distribution of John's account, John and Mary's three minor children are eligible and opt to receive a monthly benefit, share and share alike, until each child reaches the age of majority.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 41.50.050(5). WSR 05-12-041, § 415-103-275, filed 5/25/05, effective 6/25/05.]