Q: My brother died intestate. His 457b plan through his employer had a named beneficiary, but when the plan administrator
was changed to Fidelity, the beneficiary information didn't transfer, Could we sue to employer or Fidelity to make them honor his beneficiary wishes? At a 39.6% federal estate tax rate, this is a significant amount of money. Would we have a case?
A: Generally, retirement benefits are included in a person's "gross estate" for estate tax valuation. Whether or not you have a beneficiary on the policy makes no difference: it's included either way. So, having a beneficiary on the plan wouldn't actually reduce the value of your brother's gross estate for estate tax purposes.
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