This issue should be of central concern to the attorney representing a potential alternate payee under a QDRO. A QDRO is not a QDRO until a certified executed copy is received and approved by the Plan Administrator. If the participant dies before a certified copy of the QDRO has been reviewed and approved by the Plan Administrator, the alternate payee will not be entitled to any portion of the participant’s benefits nor will the alternate payee be entitled to any pre-retirement survivor annuity benefits or post-retirement joint & survivor annuity benefits that may become payable under the Plan. This is true even if the Plan Administrator has already pre-approved a draft Order. It may therefore be in the best interests of your client to get your QDRO signed by the judge before submitting it to the Plan Administrator for review.