Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
Hi; My goal is to provide you with great service - if you have any questions during our chat, please ask! I'll do my best to ensure your satisfaction! If a beneficiary predeceases the annuity holder, then the contingent beneficiary typically is entitled to the annuity, as once a beneficiary predeceases the annuity holder, it does not become part of the original beneficiary's estate.
If there is no alternative beneficiary, then it generally is payable to the estate, and must be probated. So if this is for estate planning purposes, it is best to name contingent beneficiaries, as the cost of probate can be quite significant.
Is it relevant that the annuity company was not aware the beneficiary predeceased the annuitant?
Yes, if a pay out was made to the beneficiary's estate (the predeceased beneficiary's estate), as then the annuitant's executor (or the contingent beneficiary) would need to bring a suit to recover the money, naming the predeceased beneficiary's estate and the annuity company.
The predeceased beneficiary did not receive any part ot the annuity. The total annuity is going to the contingent beneficiary. This is customary?
Yes, it is. A person will not inherit money unless they are alive at the time of the decedent's death. In fact, often times (for wills) there is a provision requiring that the beneficiary outlive the decedent by 72 hours. This is so the property passes to the decedent's heirs, versus the beneficiaries. The way around this is to name the beneficiary's heirs as the contingent beneficiaries.
Here is a concise explanation - it restates what I said above, but does so in a very detailed manner. http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/epbam/pensions/claims/benedes.htm#bene
Last question - is it customary for the court probate documents not to contain any mention of the annuity?
Yes it is. The reason being that probate only deals with "probate assets" - those are the assets that pass via the terms of the will. In contrast, annuities, life insurance policies, real property with right of survivorship, bank accounts with Pay on Death beneficiaries -all of these pass outside the will - thus outside probate. The idea is to save substantially on probate fees, which can eat up a large portion of the estate.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX a big help!
You are very welcome. Hope everything works out for you and yours.