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  1. #1
    Neila Swapp is offline Junior Member
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    Mar 2007
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    401 k without a beneficiary

    What is the name of your state? UT
    My ex husband recently died and my three adult children are trying to sort out the mess he left. He oldest has been designated by probate court as the person to handle the affairs. There was a 401 K that did not list any beneficiaries and my oldest is concerned that when it is handed off to him to disperse between the other children that some or all of the other children might not make the necessary tax provisions on the money and then he will become liable for it.
    What do you suggest?
  2. #2
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    an attorney that deals with probate matters.


    the 401k is an estate asset and will be used to pay estate liabilities, if any. There are many other things that need to be taken care of such as decedents tax filings, estate tax filings (and payments of each if any), any state transfer taxes (if any).

    If there are any individual taxes due because of the inheritance, that is up to the individual heir to deal with in their tax filings.

    In other words, an attorney is your best direction for a correct settling of the estate.
  3. #3
    Dandy Don is offline Senior Member
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    Yes, getting a probate attorney is wise.

    In addition, I was wondering if there is a surviving spouse (did he remarry or not)? Your son needs to check with the company holding the 401K to see if they have rules about who gets what--sometimes the 401K company has rules about distribution that might not agree with probate law. How much is in the account? Sometimes preference is given to a surviving spouse automatically, either in the rules or in the state law.

    DANDY DON IN OKLAHOMA (tiekh@yahoo.com)
  4. #4
    ShyCat is offline Senior Member
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    Sometimes preference is given to a surviving spouse automatically, either in the rules or in the state law

    Actually, it's FEDERAL law that always gives preference to a spouse. Unless the spouse has provided a signed and notarized waiver to the 401(k) plan administrator, the spouse is always the beneficiary of a 401(k), per ERISA.
  5. #5
    Neila Swapp is offline Junior Member
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    Mar 2007
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    no surviving spouse, he did remarry but was divorced again. oldest son was desingated by probate court as executor of estate, all bills paid, house has not sold yet. 401 k administrator says they have to issue one check to the executor and he has to divvy it out to other brothers. so does he give it to probate lawyer to issue to other siblings? If he does that, will there be ways to be sure that the oldest will not have repercussions from tax liablilites down the road in case siblings do not follow thru on taxes accordingly. there are 6 boys all together, one of them a minor.

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