401 K



Taken off the BNSF web page, important for employees to be vigilant keeping their beneficiaries current.
Check all of your personal accounts other than the 401K to keep your accounts current.

Time to review your 401(k) beneficiaries 


​​​Have you had any life events that impact your 401(k) plan beneficiary designation(s)? 

To prevent potential complications (including possible legal issues) in the future, be sure to review the specific beneficiary designation rules that are summarized below. You can also check the 401(k) Summary Plan Description for additional details. 

When you fail to designate a beneficiary, the legal system will determine who inherits your 401(k) plan balance. Similarly, if you fail to update your beneficiary election following certain life events, there may be legal disputes between those you previously designated as your beneficiary and those who under law are deemed to be your primary beneficiary.    

Here are some frequently disputed situations covered under IRS and 401(k) plan rules:

  • Remarried (new spouse): By law, a marriage automatically cancels out any previous primary beneficiary designation and automatically establishes your new spouse as your primary beneficiary. Previous secondary beneficiary designations may remain valid but should be updated after your marriage. 
  • Remarried (children): If you previously named your children as primary beneficiaries and you remarry, your new spouse automatically becomes the primary beneficiary. By law your new spouse must agree to waive their legal rights by submitting a Spousal Consent Form to Vanguard before any other person(s) may be designated as primary beneficiaries. Again, in the event of a significant life event such as marriage, you should always update your beneficiary designations and obtain spousal consent if necessary.
  • Different beneficiaries named in employee’s will and 401(k) plan: 401(k) plan designations override beneficiaries named in a will, if different beneficiaries are named. To distribute assets according to your will, you must name your ‘estate’ as the beneficiary of your 401(k) account.

So that your savings are distributed according to your wishes when you die, you are encouraged to review and update your 401(k) beneficiaries by visiting Vang​uard.com or by contacting a Vanguard associate at 800-523-1188Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT. If Vanguard asks for your plan number, the salaried plan number is 091565 and the scheduled plan number is 092106.

Please note: This is not the only beneficiary designation associated with compensation and benefits you receive as a BNSF employee. For an overview of each of the beneficiary designations potentially applicable to you, go to myBNSF.com and click on Manage My Beneficiaries under Links on the home page.

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