Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
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If it's a defined contribution plan (for example a 401k, SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA), then yes you as an heir may collect the funds in the account. You'll need to locate the account, inquire whether you are a named beneficiary. If you are not a named beneficiary you'll have to probate his estate and have the fund proceeds divided among all heirs.
If it is a defined benefit plan (what is considered a traditional pension, wherein a set amount is paid out to the employee then usually his/her spouse after death) adult children/heirs are not able to collect on these. In other words the payment obligation ends with death of the employee and spouse; regardless of whether the fund paid anything out during their lifetimes. Nor is it the case that you now can go to the fund and apply for funds that they should have received had they properly applied for the funds.
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