Is a pension beneficiary separate from a beneficiary in Will?

UPDATED: Aug 31, 2011

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Is a pension beneficiary separate from a beneficiary in Will?

My grandmother past away 5 months ago. In her Will she left the money for her house after being sold to myself and 2 other grandchildren. Although in a separate form she left the remainder of her pension to me. Once my aunt found out about this she threatened to bring this issue to court saying how her son was entitled to his share of the pension.

Asked on August 31, 2011 California


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the problems with the settling of the estate.  Money always makes things a bit more tense in a family.  I will try and give you all the help that I can with this matter but I do think that you are going to have to go and seek help from an attorney in the area who can actually look at the papers in question.  When you say "a separate form" what do you mean?  A Will is a Will and unless there is a Codicil (a legal addendum to the Will) a written addendum other than a codicil may not be valid.  If, however, you mean that the pension plan and the administrator of the plan allows there to be a beneficiary designation for the proceeds of the remainder of the pension to be passed down via the form, then this passes outside of the Will and it is indeed yours alone.  Please get help.  Good luck.

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