Both parents have passed and these is no beneficiary, now what?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Both parents have passed and these is no beneficiary, now what?

Both of my parents step-father and biological motherwrote each other in as their beneficiaries. The issue is, my mother passed away, we rolled over her IRA into my step-father’s IRA. He passed a couple of year after that, but never changed the beneficiaries. I was made the executor of the estate. Being that my parents married when I was 25, it seemed weird to adopt me. He does have 2 blood children. The majority of his IRA was my mother’s money. Being that there is not longer a living beneficiary and no contingent beneficiary, who gets the money?

Asked on January 18, 2019 under Estate Planning, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The blood children will get the money. It doesn't matter that the money was originally hers; when she passed and the money went to him, it because his. It being his, if the will does not direct to whom it goes (since there is no contingent beneficiary), it will be distributed as per "intestate succession," or the rules for who gets what when there is no will. In your state (NY), as in all states with which I am familiar, if there is no surviving spouse but surviving biological (blood) or adopted children, it goes to them. Unfortunately, step children do not inherit (unless there is a will leaving assets to them), his two blood children will split all his assets.

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