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LegalGems
LegalGems, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 2876
Experience:  Private Practice; Elder Law Attorney; Estate Planning; Attorney Mentor
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My husband of 34 years passed away in April of 2010 and his

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My husband of 34 years passed away in April of 2010 and his mother passed away in December of 2012. In January 2013, I received forms showing him as beneficiary from her life insurance annuity. Neither of them had wills. I've submitted the claims form along with both death certificates. I would like to get these funds to help with our children's college tuition. How can I make sure this happens?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  LegalGems replied 1 year ago.

LegalGems :

I am an Estate Law expert and will do my best to provide you with quality information. Remember, I am only permitted to give general information!

LegalGems :

I am very sorry to hear of your recent losses. One moment please as I review the remainder of your question.

LegalGems :

Since your husband predeceased your mother in law, the annuity would actually go to the alternate beneficiary. Do you know if one was named?

Customer:

there was no alternate beneficiary

LegalGems :

And you mentioned that she died without a will; so all of her assets would pass via intestate succession. Are you familiar with this?

Customer:

why wouldn't this account go to my husband's estate as he is the named beneficiary

Customer:

Could we not use a small estate affidavit to transfer this to me since he is beneficiary?

LegalGems :

One moment please; let me verify this. Typically, if one party predeceases the deceased, the person is not capable of inheriting. Let me see if I can find an exception.

Customer:

I had his durable power of attorney and handled his financial affairs before and after death

Customer:

The value of this account is likely less than $20,000

LegalGems :

Thank you for your patience. Unfortunately, the fact that he predeceased her makes him incapable of being a beneficiary. Under circumstances such as this, the money would go via intestate succession; i.e. to her children (your children would take their dad's share). I don't know the family tree, but since the annuity did name your husband, this could be pointed out to any other heirs, (i.e. his siblings) and they could be asked to DISCLAIM this amount so it goes to your children.

Customer:

There are 3 living siblings and I'm told there are other accounts that will go into probate. Do I need to legally notify them in any way about disclaiming this amount? Also, it would go to the children directly or through me? None of the siblings have done anything and are just waiting for someone to appoint an executor. What should they do to get the ball rolling?

Customer:

Our children are both over 21

LegalGems :

You would need to ask them if they would disclaim it. Unfortunately, it is their choice to do so or not. I'm not sure of the family dynamics, but if they were close to your husband or your children or their mom, then presumably they would want her wishes to be carried out properly and for your family to benefit from the annuity money. Since the children are over 21, it would go to them directly. The children really can't do anything - unless they want to be appointed (I'm assuming not). Let me see what the time frame is in Arizona for starting probate. Your mother in law resided in AZ immediately prior to her death?

Customer:

No, she lived in NY

LegalGems :

OK; let me check that state.

LegalGems :

Apparently NY does not have a time limitation. However, the Estate Tax Return (form 706) needs to be filed within 9 months of the date of death, so that would serve as a time limitation indirectly. The court with jurisdiction is the county where she last resided; and is the Surrogate Court (their term for probate). You can contact the clerk there to see if any proceedings have been initiated.

LegalGems :

Did you have any other questions relating to the above?

Customer:

are we still connected?

LegalGems :

yes; i was just following up to see if you had any further inquiries.

Customer:

Do I request the siblings to disclaim this account in writing or just ask?

LegalGems :

You can just ask - it can be verbal or written. If one of your kids is more close to one of the siblings, it might be better to have your child/ren ask.

Customer:

ok thanks very much!

LegalGems, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 2876
Experience: Private Practice; Elder Law Attorney; Estate Planning; Attorney Mentor
LegalGems and other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you

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