Beneficiary change after Death

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

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


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

Answered 4 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.   

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption