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Easing Retirement Plan Notarization Could Put Women at Risk (1)

Oct. 20, 2021, 1:52 PMUpdated: Oct. 21, 2021, 3:58 PM

A proposal federal regulators are weighing to end in-person retirement plan election requirements meant to protect spousal benefit rights instead could expose women beneficiaries to fraud.

Most private-sector pension plans and 401(k)s in the U.S. are required to provide automatic survivor benefits, which give beneficiaries access to their spouse’s retirement savings when they die, protecting women in particular from falling through the retirement access gap.

The only way to waive that benefit is by signing a spousal consent form witnessed by a plan administrator or public notary.

Covid-19 upended that process, exacerbating financial constraints that incentivize benefits adjustments and making ...

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