U.S. Bank, Nat'l Ass'n v. BittnerAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court and the decision of the court of appeals in this dispute over the beneficiary designation of an individual retirement account (IRA), holding that the designation unambiguously conveyed the IRA to the decedent's spouse rather than an unnamed family trust.
Plaintiff, one of four children of the decedent in this case, argued that his father's IRA beneficiary designation designated an unnamed family trust as the primary beneficiary. The beneficiary designation, however, began by stating that the decedent's spouse was the 100 percent primary beneficiary of the IRA. The district court entered judgment determining that the decedent's spouse should receive the entire IRA account outright. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the lower courts correctly determined that the spouse was entitled to the IRA.