Who is entitled to death benefit – the personal representative of the estate or the listed beneficiary?

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Who is entitled to death benefit – the personal representative of the estate or the listed beneficiary?

My fiance died last week. We had been together for 18 years. His state retirement has changed to death benefits. Since I am the representative, and have full control of his remains and burial, am I entitled to the death benefits even though I am not a beneficiary?

Asked on October 25, 2010 under Estate Planning, Wisconsin

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss. You have been appointed the personal representative of the estate, correct?  So was there a Will or did he die "intestate"?   These questions may or may not have any bearing over the death benefits you are speaking about.  Did the death benefit have a designation of beneficiary?  Were you the person named to receive the death benefit or was "the estate" or no one (and then the money would go in to the estate)?  If you were named then you would receive it.  If no one was names then it probably went to the estate and then it would be distributed according to his Will  or if he died without a Will then the intestacy laws in the state.  If he died without a Will and you wer not married you would not inherit from his estate.

I think that you should take the paperwork you have to an attorney to help you in your area.  Good luck.


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