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CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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My step mother passed recently. She had a Single Life

Customer Question

My step mother passed recently. She had a Single Life annuity. Non annuitized. Unfortunately, she had no beneficiary listed. However, in her will I am listed as the beneficiary to her retirement account. The lawyer who executed the will sent me an informal letter stating
JA: Estate laws vary by state. What state are you in?
Customer: Arkansas
JA: What documents or supporting evidence do you have?
Customer: Death Certificate, Will.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: The Single Life annuity was non annuitized. Despite not having a listed beneficiary, shouldn't the value of the Annuity be transferred to me as her will states? or at least be transferred to her estate? I feel the lawyer who is friends with the executor is keeping me in the dark.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 9 months ago.

Hello, My name is ***** ***** I will assist you today. Please give me a few minutes to write a response and identify any additional resources for you.

Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 9 months ago.

Dear Customer,

I am sorry to learn of your step mother's death.

Regarding the annuity, it should pass to the estate and be distributed according to the will in probate.

The executor owes you a fiduciary duty to execute the will according to the testamentary document (the will).

Unfortunately, the executor's attorney does not owe you any duty at all (however, they do have an obligation simply by virtue of being a licensed attorney not to mislead or misrepresent themselves).

If you need to contest the handling of the probate matter, you will need to either represent yourself in the probate matter or hire your own attorney to represent your interests - usually simply hiring your own attorney is enough to force the issue.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The lawyer told me due to her Retirement annuity (valued at 207k) being a Single Life annuity with no listed beneficiary, there is no benefit to me. The lawyer sent me a letter from her company stating there are no retirement monies in her retirement account. I don't see how that can be if she never began payments. It seems to me, regardless of the type of annuity, if not annuitized, it should go to the estate.My other question, the lawyer is telling me that I must begin making payments on the existing mortgage beginning Jan2017. Probate period isn't over until Mar 2017. Do I have to begin making payments?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 9 months ago.

Unfortunately I cannot advise you specifically as to whether you must begin making the payments - although in general it is likely.

But it does sound like it is probably worthwhile to hire your own attorney at this point - you can likely get results simply by having your own attorney contact the executor's and make a demand that they follow the terms of the will. (keeping costs down).

Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 9 months ago.

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