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April 19, 2009

Spousal Consent

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Definition

The (usually) written consent provided by the spouse of a retirement account owner, for the retirement account owner to take certain actions with his retirement account such as:
  • Naming someone other than, or in addition to, his spouse as the primary beneficiary of his qualified plan or ERISA retirement account
  • Naming someone other than, or in addition to, his spouse as the primary beneficiary of his IRA or non-ERISA 403(b) account and he resides in a community or marital property state
  • Making certain (non required) distributions from a pension plan, or a non-pension qualified plan that is subject to the REA Safe Harbor provisions
  • Taking loans from a pension plan or a non-pension qualified plan that is subject to the REA Safe Harbor provisions
  • Making certain distribution elections for his pension plan account, or a non-pension qualified plan account that is subject to the REA Safe Harbor provisions
Referring Cite
IRC  § 417, Treas. Regs §§. 1.411(a) and 1.417(e). ERISA, State law, the governing plan document
Additional Helpful Information
  • Spousal consent may need to be witnessed by a notary public or a plan representative in order to be valid
  • In some cases, there are limitations on the time period that spousal consent can be obtained, before the application action is taken. For instance, spousal consent for a loan must not be obtained more than 90-days before the loan is secured.

Written By

Denise Appleby

Denise is CEO of Appleby Retirement Consulting Inc., a firm that provides IRA resources for financial/ tax/legal professionals. She has over 20 years of experience in the retirement plans field, which includes training and technical consultation.

Denise writes and publishes educational /marketing tools for advisors; available at http://irapublications.com. Denise co-authored several books on IRAs

Denise is a graduate of The John Marshall Law School, where she obtained a Masters of Jurisprudence in Employee Benefits, and has earned 5 professional retirement designations.
She has appeared on numerous media programs, sharing her insights on retirement tax laws.

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