In All Cases, Will a Member's Designated Beneficiary or Beneficiaries Receive the Member's Accumulated Deductions Should the Member Die In Service?

When an individual becomes a member of a Massachusetts contributory retirement system, he or she is asked to designate a beneficiary or beneficiaries who will receive the member’s accumulated retirement deductions in one sum if he or she dies as a member-in-service.  Generally speaking, this beneficiary designation will be effective unless the member leaves survivors whose rights are superior by law.  However, the law provides that amounts owed for child support may be intercepted by the Department of Revenue before the funds are disbursed to a beneficiary.

Is a Member Limited in His or Her Choice of a Beneficiary?

Members may choose any person or entity as their beneficiary for the return of accumulated deductions.  Members may name more than one beneficiary and designate the percentage of their account to go to each.  However, members who are minors must designate a relative as their beneficiary.

Is a Member Permitted to Change His or Her Beneficiary Designation?

The member may change his or her beneficiary designation at any time by filing a new form with the retirement board.

What if the Designated Beneficiary Predeceases the Member?

If there is no living beneficiary at the time of the member’s death prior to retirement, the member’s retirement board shall determine the person or persons who are entitled, in their judgment, to payment of the account if the account is less than $300.  Otherwise, the account must be paid to representatives of the member’s estate.

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