The Ninth Circuit held that a participant’s brother, rather than his spouse, was the proper beneficiary of benefits under a profit sharing plan. In so holding, the Court found that: (a) the participant’s first wife, who was designated as the primary beneficiary, had waived her rights to benefits as part of the couple’s divorce; and (b) the participant’s second wife had no rights to the benefits, since she was not a named beneficiary and top-hat plans are exempt from ERISA’s spousal consent requirements. The case is E & J Gallo Winery v. Rogers, 2015 WL 738265 (9th Cir. Feb. 23, 2015) (unpublished).
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