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Ask Brent Blanchard Your Own Question
Brent Blanchard
Brent Blanchard, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 1975
Experience:  Twelve years of experience in employment law matters, representing both employees and employers.
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How do I find out if my deceased,husband had a pension. With

Customer Question

How do I find out if my deceased,husband had a pension. With abex corp
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Brent Blanchard replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your question.The most reliable way to extract information from anyone regarding a decedent's assets is to open a probate case and then send a documents subpoena to the possible account institution.Tracking down the source(s) of deposits into any financial account can also potentially lead to discovering other assets that were paying out during the person's lifetime. Sometimes they are a dead end because the payments end at death, but IF the surviving spouse has any right to continued payments (or commonly enough, half the original amount--depending on the account's own rules), sometimes the only way to find out is by forcing an answer with a subpoena.A subpoena requires a court case, and opening a probate case does that.I have seen situations where either community property or a proper estate plan made probate UN-necessary, but a probate case was opened up for the sole purpose of getting medical records or financial records that were otherwise protected by privacy laws--not even the spouse had a legal "right" to that information until a death creates a right to look around for assets that should either 1) be gathered and distributed by the estate, or 2) be identified as NOT being part of the estate...which sometimes means that some part of the deposit/investment/whatever contract gives the surviving spouse or someone else NAMED a right to get all or part of the asset without going through probate.In California, probates go through the Superior Court. I believe that every county now has its own self-help section of its website, like this one for LA County: http://www.lacourt.org/division/probate/PR0077.aspx.Thank you.
Expert:  Brent Blanchard replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your question.The most reliable way to extract information from anyone regarding a decedent's assets is to open a probate case and then send a documents subpoena to the possible account institution.Tracking down the source(s) of deposits into any financial account can also potentially lead to discovering other assets that were paying out during the person's lifetime. Sometimes they are a dead end because the payments end at death, but IF the surviving spouse has any right to continued payments (or commonly enough, half the original amount--depending on the account's own rules), sometimes the only way to find out is by forcing an answer with a subpoena.A subpoena requires a court case, and opening a probate case does that.I have seen situations where either community property or a proper estate plan made probate UN-necessary, but a probate case was opened up for the sole purpose of getting medical records or financial records that were otherwise protected by privacy laws--not even the spouse had a legal "right" to that information until a death creates a right to look around for assets that should either 1) be gathered and distributed by the estate, or 2) be identified as NOT being part of the estate...which sometimes means that some part of the deposit/investment/whatever contract gives the surviving spouse or someone else NAMED a right to get all or part of the asset without going through probate.In California, probates go through the Superior Court. I believe that every county now has its own self-help section of its website, like this one for LA County: http://www.lacourt.org/division/probate/PR0077.aspx.Thank you.