Ok, that may not be quite what she had in mind at the time, but that was the effect.

DN, a minor, received a distribution from his father’s 401(k) plan as a secondary beneficiary. He received the distribution because the primary beneficiary, his mother, was in prison for murdering the father. Under Oregon law if you murder your spouse you aren’t entitled to receive his/her retirement benefits. (This law by itself probably prolongs many husbands’ lives more than any healthy lifestyle ever could.)

DN, the child, argued that even though he received the money that his mother was ineligible for, she should be the deemed recipient for tax purposes since she was the primary beneficiary (and still alive).

The courts disagreed, finding that the minor child received the money and should pay the tax. The net effect was that the murderous mom avoided paying tax on the distribution.

She also avoided receiving the money.

Read more tax articles from Paul’s tax blog