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  1. #1
    joan51 is offline Junior Member
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    Rights of Survivorship

    What is the name of your state? Texas

    My Dad and step-mother each had wills that named the other as sole beneficiary. Upon the death of the other, all their assets were to be liquidated and divided among my dad's four daughters and my step-mother's son. Everything divided 5 ways. My dad had quite a lot in his retirement fund plus other accounts. He passed away 12/25/05. Shortly after, my step-mother found out she has terminal cancer and is not expected to live much longer. All four of us have always been extremely close to our dad and got along very well with our stepmother also. Now that dad is gone, we have found out our stepmother has moved all the money from their accounts into new accounts in her and her son's name. We believe she is trying to make sure he gets all the money that was left. Can she disregard my dad's wishes and both their wills by moving all the money so only her son will have access when she passes away?

    Thank you,
    Joan
  2. #2
    nextwife is offline Senior Member
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    How was the ownership of the accounts from which the funds were moved stated? Funds that transfer OUTSIDE probate are not subject to the will.
  3. #3
    joan51 is offline Junior Member
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    Rights of Survivorship - Help!

    I'm not real sure what you mean. I know the accounts my dad and his wife had were all joint accounts and the money became hers alone when he died. The agreement they always talked to us about and what was stated in their wills identically was that everything would be divided 5 ways. My dad assumed when he died that we would be taken care of when she was gone. The accounts she moved the money to are now in her name OR her son's name so we are assuming she intends for it all to go to just her son now. Legally I'm not sure if there is anything we can do but I know it is wrong and my dad would be terribly disappointed to know his children ended up with nothing.
  4. #4
    Dandy Don is offline Senior Member
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    Did you all receive ANYTHING from your father's estate? Did he have a will that was probated in probate court or was no probate done? Have you all checked at the county courthouse probate court to see if there was an estate handled in your father's name?

    The problem with the retirement account is that it could have named her as the only beneficiary and if that happened the money would have been paid to her outside of the estate and if that happened it is HER money. Perhaps the mistake your father made was mentioning this money in the will when it actually should not have been mentioned since the beneficiary designation takes priority over the will. You should be checking with your father's employer or the company that was holding the retirement account to find out what the rules and regulations were regarding the account and who was named beneficiary, if any beneficiary was named at all and did stepmother have rights to a certain percentage of this money by law.

    DANDY DON IN OKLAHOMA (tiekh@yahoo.com)
  5. #5
    joan51 is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you for the response. We did not receive anything after my dad passed away. He also told us there was a life insurance policy worth $50,000 that would be paid upon his death. This was the only thing that we were to get before she dies too. She says there was no such policy and we have no proof of it.

    The way he explained it to us was that when he died, everything would go to her and vice versa. Then when they were both gone, all their assets would be divided among the 5 of us. He doesnt mention anything specific in his will nor does her. They are identical wills just stating everything goes to him/her and then when they are gone, to their children. To my dad, this meant their house, cars and money accounts. I think my dad's biggest mistake was trusting that she would do what they had planned.

    I don't believe his will was probated as it was pretty straight forward. I know his wife was the sole beneficiary of his retirement money as she was with all other money. Thats just how they set it up and that was fine. We never suspected there would be any question when they were both gone that it would all be part of the estate. I guess she has pulled a fast one on us. It sure doesnt seem right though that the law would let her do this.
  6. #6
    colourfastt is online now Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by joan51 View Post
    Thank you for the response. We did not receive anything after my dad passed away. He also told us there was a life insurance policy worth $50,000 that would be paid upon his death. This was the only thing that we were to get before she dies too. She says there was no such policy and we have no proof of it.

    The way he explained it to us was that when he died, everything would go to her and vice versa. Then when they were both gone, all their assets would be divided among the 5 of us. He doesnt mention anything specific in his will nor does her. They are identical wills just stating everything goes to him/her and then when they are gone, to their children. To my dad, this meant their house, cars and money accounts. I think my dad's biggest mistake was trusting that she would do what they had planned.

    I don't believe his will was probated as it was pretty straight forward. I know his wife was the sole beneficiary of his retirement money as she was with all other money. Thats just how they set it up and that was fine. We never suspected there would be any question when they were both gone that it would all be part of the estate. I guess she has pulled a fast one on us. It sure doesnt seem right though that the law would let her do this.
    Bear in mind, that since all the assets are now hers, the assets will pass as defined in HER Will. If she chooses to have a new Will made, then it will define how the estate is divided, not your deceased father's, regardless of his wishes when he was living.
  7. #7
    BelizeBreeze is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by colourfastt View Post
    Bear in mind, that since all the assets are now hers, the assets will pass as defined in HER Will. If she chooses to have a new Will made, then it will define how the estate is divided, not your deceased father's, regardless of his wishes when he was living.
    Not necessarily. If you read, there is no definate answer as to the probate. Therefore, if probate has NOT happened, then the issue can be forced by one of the heirs filing. This will either force step-mother to produce the will or the estate can be probated intestate which will bypass the intent of the so-called will.

    The FIRST STEP is to determine whether or not probate has been filed. And that can be done by contacting the probate clerk in the county where dad died.

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