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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33791
Experience:  15 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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Unbeknown to me, my wife had named a niece and a nephew of

Customer Question

Unbeknown to me, my wife had named a niece and a nephew of hers as beneficiaries on her 2 university retirement plans that she joined in 1991 at a Michigan University. She passed away last month and I just found out that I was not the named beneficiary? What can I do now to challenge her beneficiary designations? Her nephew is mentally challenged and lives in a state AFC home and is not able to take care of any financial issues whatsoever. Also, I truly need these funds to survive myself as I am 69 and have no pension.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), a surviving spouse is automatically the beneficiary of any employer sponsored retirement plan unless they sign a written waiver allowing the plan owner to name someone else as the beneficiary.

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So your recourse here would be to contact the plan administrator with the university and file a formal objection to any funds being disbursed as being in violation of ERISA because you never signed a waiver of your rights as primary beneficiary.

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If they have disbursed funds already, then you will have to hire an employment law attorney to assist with filing suit against the university for violating ERISA if they are unable to retrieve the funds.

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thanks

Barrister

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