Beneficiaries of Will and Inheritance

We recently had a family member that passed away. She had 2 CD’s in a single bank and listed my mother, uncle and myself as beneficiaries and for the funds to be split by 1/3 each. At the time of her passing my uncle showed me a deposit statement of one of the CD’s larger one, same one I had with our 3 names on it, and said that she called him a while back and stated that that one was for him. She did not put it in writing nor did she change anything at the bank. She suffered from dementia the last year of her life and this is when he claimed she told him. The deposits were created in 2011 when she was more than healthy and were not changed since that date. As you can can guess the bank has split the funds by 3rds and as you can imagine we now have an issue where my uncle is demanding us to write him a check for the difference since that is what he was told. We are talking around 25k each so it’s not a small amount. Does he have any ground here?

Asked on April 6, 2018 under Estate Planning, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Nothing he was told, and no document other than the documents creating the account (and, e.g., setting out the beneficiaries) or a properly signed and witnessed will, controls who gets what. What he was "told" is, quite simply, irrelevant, if she never followed through and made the necessary changes. If she did change the beneficiaries on the account and did not create a will giving him a larger share of the money, he has no right to anything other than what was given him by beneficiary designation on the account.


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