Are proceeds from a retirement account considered separate from the assets of an estate that are covered in a Will?

UPDATED: Jan 7, 2015

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Are proceeds from a retirement account considered separate from the assets of an estate that are covered in a Will?

I have been notified that I’m a beneficiary of my grandmother’s retirement account. However, my mom says that she has say so over everything because it is in my grandmother’s Will. I’m the original and only beneficiary on file with investment account. Is there a way she can interfere with this process? The investment company sent papers in my name. What should I do now? I have papers. Should I just fill them out and hope for the best?

Asked on January 7, 2015 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania


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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  If your Grandmother left you as the designated beneficiary of her retirement account then those funds pass "outside the Will" and are not part of her estate.  They pass to you directly.  Your Mother has no control over them. So fill out the forms and expect the best.  Good luck.

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