What happens if a beneficiary is still listed as a beneficiary on a retirement account?

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What happens if a beneficiary is still listed as a beneficiary on a retirement account?

My father passed away suddenly of a heart attack last month. Unfortunately, he did not leave his estate in order nor did he have a Will before passing. We are left with his debt. Our mother, his ex-wife of 16 years, is listed as the beneficiary of his retirement assets in case of his death. It was never changed after the divorce. Is there any reason for us, his 2 children, to believe we have a case against our mother, to be granted our fathers retirement assets?

Asked on February 19, 2014 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts

Answers:

Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The only way you might prevail against your mother is if your mother is not named by her current name as the beneficiary.  So if the retirement account simply left the assets to "my spouse" or your mother under her married name and she changed it since, you might have a case, but it is doubtful.


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