You should provide the Plan Office with the name and address of your beneficiary on the beneficiary form provided by the Plan Office. Your beneficiary designation will be effective only if the Plan Office receives it prior to your death.
Beneficiary designations may be updated at any time by filing a new beneficiary form with the Plan Office. If you are married, your spouse is automatically your beneficiary unless he or she consents in writing to some other beneficiary. Spousal consent must be witnessed by a Plan representative or a notary public. Any later change must also be approved in the same manner.
If you divorce your spouse or dissolve your domestic partnership before you retire and commence receiving your pension, any previous designation of your former spouse or domestic partner as a beneficiary is treated as revoked as of the date of divorce (or date of dissolution of your domestic partnership). Thus, when your divorce or dissolution is effective, you should immediately submit an updated beneficiary form to the Plan Office.
If you marry or enter into a domestic partnership, any previous designation of a beneficiary other than your current spouse or domestic partner is automatically revoked and is invalid. Thus, for example, should you remarry after divorcing, and wish to designate your children from your first marriage as beneficiaries, you should immediately submit a new beneficiary form to the Plan Office with your new spouse's consent.
If you marry or enter into a domestic partnership, and either your pension start date or your death occurs before the one-year anniversary of your marriage, the Plan will disregard your spouse. You will be allowed to select a joint and survivor annuity even if you have not been married one year, but if death or divorce ends your marriage before one year, no survivor annuity benefits will be paid to your spouse.
If you have designated no beneficiary or no designated beneficiary has survived you, distribution of any lump sum death benefits will be made, in the following order: first to your surviving spouse or registered domestic partner (as defined in California Family Code § 297); then to your surviving children, including adopted children, in equal shares; then to your surviving parent or parents in equal shares; and finally, if none of the preceding exist, to your estate.
Different beneficiary forms may be used for this Plan, the SFEW Retirement Savings Plan and the SFEW Health and Welfare Plan, though a single combined form may, if expressly stated, be used to designate beneficiaries for this Plan and the Retirement Savings Plan. Be sure to file a separate form for death benefits payable under the SFEW Health & Welfare Plan.