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  1. #1
    Stephen991 is offline Member
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    Rights to deceased's belongings

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?

    Arizona

    --------
    Ill try to summarize. I am the only son to a wonderful woman who I called "Mom" for 36 years. Since I was born, it was just the two of us. Connected at the hip, through many struggles, hard times, and amazing memories. It was always her and I. She divorced my father, and remarried to a bad man. That eventually ended, and when I was 26 she was single and on her own again. Always fighting, always working hard, always keeping herself on her feet.

    At age 60 she met a man who was kind, and treated her well. In the final years of her life, they married. She continued to work because he got laid off and refused to do anything to support them, aside from spend his life savings on monthly expenses. She wouldn't let him touch her savings. As it reflected her entire life of struggles and accomplishments.

    At age 69 she passed away, leaving me with her retirement account, and without a proper will in place. This action of her leaving me as beneficiary angered the 3rd husband intensely, and he fought with attorneys to try and take it from me. He'd spent all his savings because he'd refused to work. So he wanted her money.

    -----------
    The 3rd husband got the 4 cars, and the 5 bedroom house they bought together. He also got a $100,000 life insurance policy and I gave him $35,000 from her retirement account to cover all her medical bills and any other expenses / debt he was carrying due to her.

    My mothers belongings are 100% sentimental. They are of little financial value. A closet full of dresses she'd worn since I was a child. Her smell is on them. Her purses. Her hair brush. Countless home decorations she's carried from home to home since I was a child. Christmas ornaments I made for her in 2nd grade that have hung on the tree right up until last year. Paperwork. Documents. Letters and notes to family that this 3rd husband has never known, and never will know.

    90% of her life was spent without him, but 100% of her life is in that house with him, and he is refusing to send any of it to me. Prior to finding out she left me her IRA, he said he had a box he was putting things that might be meaningful to me, into. I dont think its his job to decide whats meaningful to me. After he found out about the IRA, that box was never sent.

    ---------

    It has now been a year and a half since my mother passed away, and the only thing I have to remember her by is the tombstone in the ground at the cemetery. I have nothing else.

    Some total stranger who happened along in the final years of her life, has legal right to 100% of her life's belongings - because of what? Some arbitrary rule that a husband "gets stuff like that" ?

    Why is it that an only son, the closest blood relative would not trump a 3rd husband of a few years?

    Do I have any legal recourse to getting my mothers belongings from him? After all I am her son.

    Can I have an attorney file a claim? An injunction to require him to give me her personal effects?

    Again this isnt about valuable posessions. Nothing is worth anything. Even though he has her entire jewelry case which has tons of jewelry. Assuming he hasnt hawked it at this point.

    One of those rings is the ring she married my father with. Forever lost?

    Any help would be appreciated.
    Last edited by Stephen991; 04-03-2011 at 07:38 PM.
  2. #2
    cyjeff is offline Senior Member
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    Without a will, I am surprised you got the IRA.

    I am hoping the true lesson you got out of this is the importance of a will.
  3. #3
    ShyCat is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyjeff View Post
    Without a will, I am surprised you got the IRA.

    What surprise? The disposition of the IRA would only be controlled by a will (or a state's intestate laws) if the account was set up without a beneficiary designation (or the estate was the named beneficiary).
  4. #4
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    shycat: What surprise? The disposition of the IRA would only be controlled by a will (or a state's intestate laws) if the account was set up without a beneficiary designation (or the estate was the named beneficiary).




    maybe because by law, the primary bene of a 401k MUST be the spouse. For it to be anybody but the spouse, the spouse must sign a waiver and given the surprise and situation, the fact the OP got the IRA is a bit odd. Then, if it went to the estate, the OP would not have gotten "the IRA" but a share of the estate as a whole with none being specifically from the IRA.

    so, either the bene was not properly designated or it may have not been a 401.
    Last edited by justalayman; 04-04-2011 at 07:58 AM.
  5. #5
    curb1 is offline Senior Member
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    I would guess that the beneficiary (for the IRA) was named prior to the 3rd marriage so the spouse did not have the opportunity to sign off on the beneficiary designation.
  6. #6
    ShyCat is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by justalayman View Post
    maybe because by law, the primary bene of a 401k MUST be the spouse. For it to be anybody but the spouse, the spouse must sign a waiver and given the surprise and situation, the fact the OP got the IRA is a bit odd. Then, if it went to the estate, the OP would not have gotten "the IRA" but a share of the estate as a whole with none being specifically from the IRA.
    I know all about the spousal waiver requirement for 401(k) accounts. Since the OP called it an IRA (without doubt-inducing quotation marks), why would anyone assume that really meant 401(k)?

    It's not as if a generic term was used (like "retirement account") which then might best be answered with a conditional response (e.g., "If it was an IRA, then...; if it was a 401(k), then...").
  7. #7
    anteater is offline Senior Member
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    There is no regulation that a spouse must be named as an IRA beneficiary or waive the right to have someone else named as beneficiary.

    In community property states, there may be a question whether some or all of the IRA consists of community property.


    But back to the OP's question. Was probate opened? It does not sound like it was and, short of that, I don't know any other way that you could assert a claim to a portion of your mother's personal property.
  8. #8
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShyCat View Post
    I know all about the spousal waiver requirement for 401(k) accounts. Since the OP called it an IRA (without doubt-inducing quotation marks), why would anyone assume that really meant 401(k)?
    .
    My apologies. When I first read your post, I misread it and now that I re-read my response, have no idea where I was going with that. Along with that, my misunderstanding of the rules of beneficiaries of a 401(k) not also being applicable to an IRA, I just plain screwed up on this one.

    and they weren't meant to be doubt inducing quotation marks but emphasis implying quotation marks.
  9. #9
    Stephen991 is offline Member
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    It was an IRA.

    She did designate me as beneficiary prior to the marriage.

    What do you mean when you say "Was Probate opened"? Im not familiar with the term.

    All I can tell you is that nothing was done. The IRA went to me, he got a life insurance policy, and he is refusing to send me any of my mothers belongings.

    I just received an email from him today telling me basically to go F myself ...

    Suggestions?
  10. #10
    anteater is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen991 View Post
    What do you mean when you say "Was Probate opened"? Im not familiar with the term.
    http://www.keytlaw.com/azprobate/probatefaq.htm


    But it is probably not worth it for items that are mainly of sentimental value.
  11. #11
    tranquility is offline Senior Member
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    Just came in late, but:
    I am the only son to a wonderful woman who I called "Mom" for 36 years
    is a very odd phrasing. What were you trying to covey?

    At age 69 she passed away, leaving me with her retirement account, and without a proper will in place.
    Ok.
    This action of her leaving me as beneficiary angered the 3rd husband intensely, and he fought with attorneys to try and take it from me. He'd spent all his savings because he'd refused to work. So he wanted her money.

    -----------
    The 3rd husband got the 4 cars, and the 5 bedroom house they bought together. He also got a $100,000 life insurance policy and I gave him $35,000 from her retirement account to cover all her medical bills and any other expenses / debt he was carrying due to her.
    What did the court decision say regarding your question?
    Some total stranger who happened along in the final years of her life, has legal right to 100% of her life's belongings - because of what? Some arbitrary rule that a husband "gets stuff like that" ?

    Why is it that an only son, the closest blood relative would not trump a 3rd husband of a few years?
    Oh, I see. He won the case regarding the things you want, correct?
    Do I have any legal recourse to getting my mothers belongings from him? After all I am her son.

    Can I have an attorney file a claim? An injunction to require him to give me her personal effects?
    If there was a legal error, you can appeal.
  12. #12
    Stephen991 is offline Member
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    No. There was no court case. You've misunderstood what I wrote I'm afraid.
  13. #13
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Her husband was not a total stranger, he was her husband.

    Probate should have been opened to deal with any assets or belongings which were not titled to them jointly.
  14. #14
    Stephen991 is offline Member
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    You didn't read correctly.

    And with all due respect, your signature is dead wrong. Most people sue for justice. Those that don't are the bottom feeders of society. Its disappointing that you feel everyone just wants money. I am living proof that most people dont want money. I want the right thing to be done. Fairness.

    Anyways ...

    What I wrote was this:

    "Some total stranger who happened along in the final years of her life, has legal right to 100% of her entire life's belongings"

    In other words, he happened along in the final years of her life. AKA : Total Stranger... happening along ... so this individual who was a total stranger until the final years of her life... is entitled to her entire life's belongings?

    When her only son has no rights to it?

    That was the point I was making by calling him a total stranger.

    To put it another way, the arbitrary law that just because someone tied the knot, they automatically have all the rights, and her own son has none ... is ridiculous.

    Want proof? I could go to vegas tomorrow, meet someone, marry them, and suddenly have a ridiculous number of rights that I do not deserve.

    This is where our legal system fails in so many ways. You cant make blanket laws for situations that are by default very complex. "Justice" in a situation like this would be a judge forcing the dude to let me in that house and get my moms stuff.

    There is no justice in saying "He was her husband" and thats all there is to it. Thats illogical, and irrational. Anyone knows that.

    So Probate wasn't opened. Can I file a motion to force him to give me access to my mothers belongings? Or does the court not give a crap about her only blood relative, and will instead defend this dude who was a total stranger only 9 years ago?
    Last edited by Stephen991; 04-06-2011 at 06:19 PM.
  15. #15
    anteater is offline Senior Member
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    Dude, your mom chose to marry the guy. And, apparently, chose to own assets in such a way that her interest in the assets transferred to the guy when she passed away. And, then, she chose not make a will.

    You obviously have no idea what you are talking about and have made no effort to remedy that situation. So, can the ranting.

    Yes, you can petition to open probate and maybe you will obtain some of her personal property.
    Last edited by anteater; 04-06-2011 at 07:06 PM.

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