Naming a trust as a beneficiary is permitted by the plan.  However, the individuals who are beneficiaries of the trust are treated as designated beneficiaries provided the trust meets the following requirements:

  • The Trust is valid under state law or would be valid but for the fact that there is no trust corpus;
  • The Trust is irrevocable, or it will, by its terms, become irrevocable on the participant's death;
  • The beneficiaries are identifiable under the trust instrument; and
  • A copy of the trust instrument or a certified list of beneficiaries is provided to the plan administrator.

It would be recommended that this participant/sponsor consult with an estate attorney before naming a living trust as her 401k beneficiary.