You need to contact the plan custodian. This is the company that sends you your statements. If you have not seen a statement in a while, you may need to contact your former employer and request an updated statement. If your plan is valued daily, your statement should be accurate. If valued less often, you may not know your account balance until the valuation is completed. If that is the case, you may have to wait some time for your distribution.
Many plans are daily valued so let's hope yours is. Once you are in touch with the custodian, you can employ several options such as processing a distribution to yourself. This may create a tax bill and penalties for you so you may also consider a direct rollover to an IRA. The direct rollover would not be taxable if the assets transfer directly from the 401(k) custodian to the IRA custodian. I hope this was helpful to you.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. If you have additional comments or questions, please contact me directly as per my firms' compliance policy I am prohibited from responding.
This is such a common question. When individuals separate from an employer it's easy to overlook the package that should have been provided by Human Resources that includes the contact information for your plan's custodian. When you call the administrator you will be provided with any specific paperwork or an online website to request a withdrawal from the plan. Please note that if you take the withdrawal payable directly to you, the distribution will be counted as income and fully taxable as income to you. If you are under age 59 1/2, this will also incur an additional early-withdrawal penalty.
To avoid this, you will need to do a "trustee-to-trustee" transfer into another tax-qualified account like your new employer's 401k or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).