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Lane
Lane, JD,CFP, MBA, CRPS
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 10172
Experience:  Law Degree, specialization in Tax Law and Corporate Law, CFP and MBA, Providing Financial, Social Security & Tax advice since 1986
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I am trying to track down old 401K plan from years

Customer Question

I am trying to track down old 401K plan from years 1993-1996. I know the company name I worked for but believe it has since changed hands. How can I go about locating where to find my old 401K plan?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Lane replied 2 months ago.

Hi. ... I can help here ... My name's Lane.

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I hold a law degree, with concentration in Tax Law, Estate law & Corporate law, an MBA, with specialization in financial accounting & tax, a BBA, and CFP & CRPS designations, as well - I’ve been providing financial, Social Security/Medicare, estate, corporate, non-profit, and tax advice, since 1986.

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Please bear with me a moment while I prepare your response

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thank you
Expert:  Lane replied 2 months ago.

The first and best method of locating a 401k is to contact your old employers. If you know anything at all about the new ownership, maybe you can still contact them ... especially of there are stilll some of the same locations

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Ask them to check their plan records to see if you ever participated in their 401k plan. Be sure to have ready your full name, social security number and the dates you worked for them.

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GIVEN the ownership change, you can also look for an old 401k plan statement to see if it contains any contact information for the firm that administered the plan. If it does, call them and ask if they can check on your account.

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One other method is to contact several former employees you worked with and see if they still have any records that will help you locate the administrative firm (e.g., fidelity investments, vanguard, schwab institutional, etc.) sometimes called the plan administrator, trustee, or custodian.

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Also, most plans are required to file an annual "Form 5500" with the U.S. Government - THis is the plan's tax return - You can search these 5500's for the name of your former employer at free websites like www.freeERISA.com. If you can find a Form 5500 on an old plan, it will have contact information.

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I've had luck by contacting The National Registry to see if your former employer has listed you as a missing participant.

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The registry is a nationwide, secure database listing of retirement plan account balances that have been left unclaimed. The site is designed to help match employers with abandoned or forgotten employee retirement account balances with the former employees.

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And if the plan itself ma have been somehow abandoned, ou may also find information in the U.S. Department of Labor's Abandoned Plan Database. This search helps you find out whether a plan is in the process of being, or has been, terminated and the name of the Qualified Termination Administrator, who you can then contact about your account.

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One final thought, before you go to all this work, you may want to verify that you actually contributed to a 401k. To do so, go back to your previous year tax returns and look at your W-2's. If you made a 401k contribution, the amount will appear in Box 12 of the W-2.

Expert:  Lane replied 2 months ago.

Here's the national registry: https://www.unclaimedretirementbenefits.com/

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Here's FreeERISA: http://www.freeERISA.com

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And here's the abandoned plan database: http://askebsa.dol.gov/AbandonedPlanSearch/

Expert:  Lane replied 2 months ago.

Please let me know if you have any questions at all, before rating me

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If this HAS helped, and you DON’T have other questions … I'd appreciate a positive rating (using the stars or faces on your screen, and then clicking “submit") ... Otherwise I receive no compensation from JustAnswer for the work here.

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Thank you!

Lane