Beneficiary FAQ

What happens if a Musician names a beneficiary, but fails to name a MFB (a/k/a “Musician’s Final Beneficiary”)?

Only a Musician may name a beneficiary and a Musician’s Final Beneficiary. If the Musician names a beneficiary, but fails to name a Musician’s Final Beneficiary, residuals will be paid to the beneficiary and all payments will cease upon the death of that beneficiary.

What is the “Musician’s Final Beneficiary” (a/k/a “MFB”)?

“Musician’s Final Beneficiary” is the new terminology to describe a “Beneficiary of Beneficiary” or “BoB” that is designated by the Musician under the policy as updated in December 2017. The term “Musician’s Final Beneficiary” or “MFB” will be formally used by the Fund beginning April 1, 2018.

How do I notify the Fund of a Musician’s passing?

By filling out the Report Deceased Participants form.

What happens once the Fund learns of a Musician’s death?

The Fund freezes his/her account until the Beneficiary can be identified, confirmed and established.

Will the Fund require documents from me relating to the deceased Musician?

Yes. After notifying the Fund of the Musician’s passing by completing the Residual Claim Questionnaire, the Fund will contact you to request submissions of the documentation necessary to determine the correct Beneficiary.

What does the Fund do with the documentation it receives?

The Fund collects documentation needed to determine the correct Beneficiary entitled to receive residuals collected on account of the deceased Musician. Once review of the documentation is completed, the Fund retains the documents in a secure manner to protect privacy and confidentiality, in the event the documents are needed for future reference.

If there is a will or trust, can I send the Fund only the pages I think are necessary?

No. In cases where there is neither a Beneficiary Designation Form nor a living spouse at the time of the Musician’s death, the Fund will require complete copies of any wills and trusts of the deceased in order to confirm the correct Beneficiary.

May a musician name a charity or corporation as their beneficiary or MFB?

No. The residual payments are deferred wages, intended to continue only through the lives of the Musician, of his/her beneficiary (and of his/her MFB, if one is named). Residuals must be tied to a living individual, and will cease upon the death of the beneficiary (or the MFB, if one is named). For avoidance of doubt, charities, corporations, organizations, trusts (other than a trust for the benefit of a named living individual) and similar non-human entities may not be named or considered as beneficiaries or MFBs.

I have a trust established for the benefit of my son/daughter. May I name the trust as my beneficiary?

Perhaps. The trust must be truly structured for the benefit of (and only for the benefit of) a living, identifiable human being. Additional documentation will be required to verify the nature of the trust and the identities of the living individuals for whose benefit the trust exists. For any such trust, residuals will cease upon the death of the beneficiary of the trust or upon the dissolution of the trust, whichever comes first. If such a trust is named by the Musicians as his/her beneficiary, no MFB may be named.

What happens after I send all the necessary documentation to the Fund?

Once all documents necessary have been received, the Fund will conduct a review to determine the correct Beneficiary entitled to receive residuals on account of the deceased Musician.

How long will it take for the Fund to conduct its review?

A determination may take between two and eight months, or longer, depending upon the completeness and complexity of the documentation provided.

What happens if two or more people claim the residual payments of a deceased Participant?

The Fund will conduct a thorough review in order to make a final determination.

What happens if a Musician failed to fill out a Beneficiary Designation Form with the Fund, had no spouse, and then died intestate (without a will)?

The Fund will wait until Probate is finalized before making a final determination.

What if a Musician failed to fill out a Beneficiary Designation Form with the Fund, had no spouse, died intestate and no Probate proceedings took place?

The Fund will follow the rules of intestacy of the State in which the Musician resided at the time of his/her death to determine the individual(s) who are to receive the residuals on account of the Musician.

Can I know how much money is outstanding for a deceased Participant’s account?

Only a confirmed Beneficiary will be advised of the amount of outstanding residuals, if any, being held on account of the deceased Musician.

I’ve been confirmed as a Beneficiary based upon documents provided to the Fund. Now what?

The Fund will send you an Affidavit which must be signed, notarized, and returned to the Fund. For confirmed Beneficiaries in the Los Angeles area, the Fund offers notarial services free of charge. Please call the Fund’s Participant Services Department toll-free at 888-443-6763.

Are any residuals I receive from the Fund taxable?

Yes. If a Beneficiary receives residuals from the Fund in a given year, the Beneficiary will be issued a 1099-MISC the following January. However, residuals payable on account of a deceased Musician which are issued in the same year in which the Musician passed must be treated as taxable income to that Musician, and a W2 for the Musician will be issued for that year.

How often will I be paid?

The Fund’s annual distribution occurs once a year on July 1st. Residual payments are dependent upon whether the motion picture in which the Musician performed services generated residuals received at the Fund office during the previous fiscal year.

I am an active Beneficiary of a Musician and I am already receiving residuals from the Fund. Can I assign the residuals I am receiving to someone else?

No. Learn more about the Fund’s Beneficiary Policies including its Policy on assignments.

My brother and I are both the designated Beneficiaries to the Musician’s residuals, but I cannot locate my brother. Can I have his share?

No. You will receive only your share of the residuals. The Fund will hold your sibling’s share until he contacts the Fund and is verified and confirmed as a Beneficiary.

I am one of two designated Beneficiaries of the deceased Musician. What happens if the other Beneficiary passes away, do I receive his/her share?

No.

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