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

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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?

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 06/16/03

First published on 06/16/2003

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