If my father suddenly diied and had a 401k which listed my grandmother as sole beneficiary, if he was married, who gets the money?

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If my father suddenly diied and had a 401k which listed my grandmother as sole beneficiary, if he was married, who gets the money?

The money was disbursed to my grandmother who will not give the money to my father’s surviving children under the premise that the widow actually has a right to the money and could get the money at any time. Is this true or is my grandmother lying in order to keep the money?

Asked on June 16, 2012 under Estate Planning, Kentucky

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  If your Grandmother is named as the designated beneficiary of your Father's 401K then she is the one that the plan must distribute it to and it passes outside the estate (meaning it is not counted as part of the estate).  Whether or not your Mother could have contested that is something to discuss with an attorney in your area giving him or her more information here.  Now, as for giving the money to you as the kids, it depends on how it would be given: in trust with some one other than your Mother as trustee, etc., but your Mom as your legal guardian could get access depending on the circumstances.  Good luck.


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