My wife died during divorce and there is a hold on myIRA, is this still valid and,if so, what doI do?

UPDATED: Jul 13, 2010

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My wife died during divorce and there is a hold on myIRA, is this still valid and,if so, what doI do?

Asked on July 13, 2010 under Family Law, Tennessee


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Ordinarily, divorce is a legal remedy that is strictly personal, which means that when someone dies during a divorce case, the divorce is over and the surviving spouse is exactly that, not an ex-spouse of the deceased.  This is different from most civil suits; if a person is suing or being sued on (for example) some commercial claim, the person's estate steps into the lawsuit and the personal representative can go on with it in the name of the deceased.

The hold on your IRA is (I'm assuming) the result of an order entered in the divorce case.  If you can identify exactly what order it is (by date), I'd suggest that when you ask the court to enter its order dismissing the case, it also expressly vacates that order, so that you can then send the final order to the IRA firm and have the hold released.

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