What are my rights if when my father passed I was left as POD beneficiary on his account but he was married at the time of passing yet the account was opened before his marriage?

I obtained a death certificate and claimed the account. There are no forced heirs. Was I wrong to claim the account?

Asked on February 6, 2016 under Estate Planning, Louisiana


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss. This can be a very complicated question, especially if you are now stating that you are being told that you could not claim it.  It leads me to believe that maybe his spouse is claiming that it is part of your Father's estate. Generally speaking, a POD beneficiary has the right to collect on the account once the owner has died, and in your state the bank has no liability if they release the funds to the POD even if another potential heir is making a claim to the funds. Were the funds in the account depositied pre-marraige to his spouse?  Then they may not be subject to community prooerty laws.  If they were made after he married (or some of them) then those funds could be half hers.  Please seek legal help.  Good luck.

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