Can a legally incompetent person decline beneficiary benefits?

UPDATED: Apr 24, 2012

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Can a legally incompetent person decline beneficiary benefits?

A recently deceased relative was a member of the state public retirement system and upon her passing they found her adult son to be an eligible beneficiary for monthly disability payments due to his currency incompetency status. He and his guardian of person wants to decline benefits due to him receiving SSI already but opers stated they need magistrate approval from probate court to do that. Can the son decline benefits on his own since he has no guardian of estate? If not what steps would they take?

Asked on April 24, 2012 under Estate Planning, Ohio


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, no, they can not.  They do not have the "capacity" to act.  The guardian of the peron needs to go and be appointed as the guardian of the estate asap.  Go back to the court and ask for it and at the same time ask for court approval to decline benefits.  This way the guardian is properly protected.  Good luck.

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