White Paper

19 Pages
  • 19 Pages

Qualifying a Trust as Designated Beneficiary


There is a test that must be passed before a trust can be named a designated beneficiary.

Where certain requirements are met, it is possible to achieve Designated Beneficiary status when naming a trust as designated beneficiary. Note however that the trust itself in not a “Designated Beneficiary.” Rather, one is able to look through the trust to the individual beneficiaries who are then treated as having been designated. The failure of a trust to achieve Designated Beneficiary status will require post-death distributions over the Owner’s life expectancy or under the five-year rule. This white paper reviews the four requirements of the test that must be satisfied in order to allow for “Designated Beneficiary” status.



Michelle L. Ward, J.D., LL.M.

Michelle L. Ward, J.D., LL.M.

Keebler & Associates, LLP

  • Partner with Keebler & Associates, LLP
  • Emphasis in estate planning with primary focus on retirement distribution planning
  • Co-author of Panel Publishing's Roth IRA Answer Book and Quick Reference to IRAs and AICPA's The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010: Tools, Tips, and Tactics
  • Written articles appearing in Trusts & Estates, Investments and Wealth Monitor, and Journal of Retirement Planning
  • Member of the editorial advisory board of Informa Media’s Trusts and Estates magazine and associate editor of Journal of Financial Service Professionals
  • LL.M. degree in estate planning from Western New England College of Law; J.D. degree, University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School; B.A. degree, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Can be contacted at [email protected]

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