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NonSpouse IRA Beneficiary: Should you get the spouse's signature?

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Question: 
If a married customer establishes an IRA and designates someone other than their spouse as the beneficiary, do we need to require the spouse's signature on the designation of beneficiary form?
Answer: 

Yes, if the couple lives in a community property state or, as an act of caution, if the bank is located in a community property state.

A spouse's interest in bank deposits (including IRA's) is governed by state law; there is no federal law requiring that a spouse consent to the designation of a third party as a beneficiary on an IRA. Generally, the forms that suggest a spousal signature might be necessary are prefaced with, "If required by state law..."

First published on BankersOnline.com 06/16/03

First published on 06/16/2003

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