What are a son’s rights to his deceased father’s assets?

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What are a son’s rights to his deceased father’s assets?

My divorced father passed 15 years ago, his Will went through probate. It addressed everything except the pension due to him in the divorce decree from his ex-wife (my mother); it had a clear beneficiary form that left it to me his oldest daughter. The Will said anything not covered goes to my sister. We told my brother we were using the pension for the grandchildren. He thought that was a good idea. Now my mother is passing, he doesn’t like the way I used it to help my sister with bills and general living expenses. He wants a third of all monies from the time of dad’s death. Does he have a legal right to the money as he was neither the beneficiary nor the one named in the probated Will for unaccounted for money? He got everything named to him.

Asked on May 12, 2014 under Estate Planning, Arizona

Answers:

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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your losses and the situation.  If I understand you correctly, the pension had you as a designated beneficiary to receive the funds, correct?  An account that allows the holder to name a designated beneficiary need not be included in a Will since it passes directly to the party named in the designation.  Here that would have been you.  So you could use the funds for what ever you choose since they were not counted as part of your Father's estate. It sounds to me like your brother has no right to to complain how you used the funds as they went to you alone.  I would, however, bring all the paperwork to an attorney to review on a consultation basis.  Good luck.


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