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Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
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Experience:  Lawyer
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My father in law recently passed away. Before his passing,

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My father in law recently passed away. Before his passing, he revealed to my wife his RRSP's and life insurance policy and ensured her that she and her sibling(they were estranged) will be well taken care of.
On his RRSP policy, it shows that "no beneficiaries listed" on each of his monthly statements(I have the past several years). The financial institution before realizing the RRSP's to the estate apparently found some document from 25 years ago stating that only my wife's sibling is the sole beneficiary to the entire RRSP. They claim the statements not showing the beneficiary is simply a error on their part, but insist they are paying out to her sibling. Do we have a case or grounds to pursue action against this financial institution for their "error" ? Needless to say, my wife's sibling is refusing to share any of the RRSP with my wife.
There is no will.
Thanks for your time.

Hello! My name is***** you for your question. I'm reviewing it now, and will post back again shortly.

I am sorry to hear this.

Did the bank get out the documentation where your father-in-law designated the beneficiary? Is that the document they were talking about?

And are they certain no other document was ever filed to change that?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
They refuse to now deal with me, and state that they only need to talk with the beneficiary/my sibling. They appear to be certain its the only document they found. At the time, my sibling would have been 15, I would have been 11. I find it very hard to believe that in 25 years, with the changing of investments, etc there would not have been an update of beneficiary. Also, I can say with 100% certainty that if my father in law knew that the only beneficiary listed was 1 of the 2 children, he would have updated it. My wife has been his primary contact for the last several years.

This post is a bit puzzling because I think you are writing for your sife.

But you are saying they will only speak to your wife's sister?

Did you see the document because it is not possible to designate a minor so it seems that a Trustee would have been appointed as well. Was that not the case?

Are there any other assets in the estate? I know there was no Will.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Sorry for the confusion, I am now the wife typing, my husband started off asking you. You are correct - They are stating that they will only speak with her now because she is the beneficiary.I have not seen the document - I figured there was something amiss about designating a minor, so I am happy to hear you agree with this. They have not said anything about a Trustee listed, and because I can't see the document I cannot verify either way. I am currently attempting to get a copy of the document as I am a co-executor of his estate.There are no assets really...he rented and did not own any property, or any possessions worth any large amounts of $$$. The only large item is this RRSP in question.

So did you apply to administer the estate? I am just wondering because there are no real assets but you are saying you are co-executor?

And will your sibling not provide the document?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
at the start of the ordeal my sister and I were on the same page(a "pull together one last time to get this done" deal with her) and we both applied and were granted co-executors of his estate. Not being overly familiar with the process, we thought this was the best route to go. Also, because there was no will, we needed something in order to gain access/control on bank accounts, credit cards, etc.
Since she has basically said she is not splitting any of the money with me, and now is refusing to talk to me at all - so short answer, its not likely for her to give me the document(or ask the bank to get them to give me the document). I am fighting with the bank on the grounds that I am the co-executor still, so I should be still entitled to get a copy of any documentation...they have said they have to talk to their legal department first - this is where I am stuck waiting at this point.

So their legal department will tell them to give you a copy of the document.

The reason why is that as executor you are essentially standing in the shoes of your father and can do all he could do when living. When living he was entitled to a copy of that document.

Otherwise you will need to apply to the court for an order.

I find all of this a bit strange because what happens normally is that a minor has to have a trustee designated and then when the child reaches the age of majority this is changed.

As well, it seems odd that in all these years your father never turned his mind to this and also that the bank never asked him to renew the designation.

It is also unusual that the bank statements would have this error.

So the bank may have to be compelled to do another and more thorough search to ensure that there has not been a more recent designation.

It is also simply disgusting and unethical for your sibling to be acting this way but you don't need me to tell you that. Money has a terrible way of making some people show their true colours.

If the bank refuses to provide the document you will need your own lawyer unfortunately.

Does this help as a starting point?

Please feel free to post back with any follow-up questions you may have. If you don't have any then I hope I have earned a 5 star rating but if you don't feel that I have please don't hesitate to reply back and let me know what more I can do to assist you. Finally, please know that even after you rate me I will be here for you and you can ask follow-up questions if you think of them later on at no further charge of course.

Is there anything more I can help you with at this point in time?

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