Beneficiary change after Death

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Beneficiary change after Death

I was told by the brokerage house that I was a beneficiary for a Roth held by my ex-wife who had passed. After a couple of months I was mailed a copy of the statement for the Roth indicating a zero balance. Upon inquiring to the brokerage house, I was told that the self-appointed executor of the estate my ex-wife’s cousin had requested the beneficiary of the Roth in question should be changed to the estate due to the discovery of a signature “mis-match�. Is there an arbitration process I can go through to attempt to get answers without hiring an attorney? My ex-wife resided in WA as do I. The Roth is was held in an account in CA.

Asked on August 2, 2018 under Estate Planning, Washington

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You need to hire an attorney to file for a probate or new executor of your ex-wife's estate.  If you were the beneficiary of the Roth, then you were entitled to those proceeds unless a valid exception applies.  Beneficiary designations cannot change after death.  Those designations can only be changed during the person's lifetime.  Probates are generally filed where the deceased resided at the time of death....and the probate rules for that court will control.  Because you are going to be dealing with multi-state issues, you really do need a probate attorney to assist you.  Some probate matters require the initial order to be filed in the first state (where the deceased resided at the time of passing), and then an ancillary proceeding filed where any property is located.   
 


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