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Beneficiary changed after death

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Shadowbunny

Queen of the Not-Rights
Thanks for all the advise. It seems it all boils down to determining if a paper you sign and date st home charging beneficiaries is legally binding or if it needs to be turned into the retirement company to be legal. This is assuming my Aunt actually signed and dated the forms herself. It is suspicious she didn't turn the papers in. The husband is trying to say she got the papers and signed them just a few days before she died of cancer. From what I know, cancer isn't a sudden death. If she actually intended to sign and turn in the papers it is weird she did it right before she was bedridden in hospice.
It's not weird at all -- knowing that death is imminent can change someone's perspective. It's quite possible that the medical bills from the cancer treatment caused a financial hardship that your aunt wanted to remedy by leaving it to her husband.

 


cbg

I'm a Northern Girl
Several years ago, I had an employee call and ask for a beneficiary change form for his life insurance. I sent it out. That was on a Friday.

Over the weekend, that employee was killed in a car accident.

We KNEW that he wanted to change his life insurance beneficiary. We asked his family to look to see if he'd filled out and signed the new form. If they'd found it, we would have honored the change, even though he never turned it in to us. As they couldn't find it, we had to pay out to the original beneficiary.

But yes, if your lawyer is telling you that the form doesn't need to have been turned in to anyone as long as it's dated and signed properly, the lawyer is right.
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
But yes, if your lawyer is telling you that the form doesn't need to have been turned in to anyone as long as it's dated and signed properly, the lawyer is right.
An attorney may help find a way to challenge the authenticity of the signature and/or date.
 
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LdiJ

Senior Member
Several years ago, I had an employee call and ask for a beneficiary change form for his life insurance. I sent it out. That was on a Friday.

Over the weekend, that employee was killed in a car accident.

We KNEW that he wanted to change his life insurance beneficiary. We asked his family to look to see if he'd filled out and signed the new form. If they'd found it, we would have honored the change, even though he never turned it in to us. As they couldn't find it, we had to pay out to the original beneficiary.

But yes, if your lawyer is telling you that the form doesn't need to have been turned in to anyone as long as it's dated and signed properly, the lawyer is right.
This was at least 30 years ago but my dad was an insurance agent and one of his clients verbally told him over the phone that he wanted his life insurance changed to his new spouse, and then died before he could come into the office to make the change. The insurance company honored his wishes based solely on what he verbally told my father.

Of course everything back then went through an agent and was personally handled by an agent so that really was a different era.
 

cbg

I'm a Northern Girl
I was asked whether or not he'd mentioned to me, when he asked for the form, who he wanted to change it to. Unfortunately he hadn't.
 

bcr229

Active Member
Is it possible that the retirement fund did not allow someone other than the spouse to be appointed as a beneficiary without written consent of the spouse?

I have a pension fund with a previous employer where that applies, as it also does with my government pension fund with my current employer. .
That's a good point. When I set up my 401k for my new employer earlier this year, if I'd wanted to designate someone other than my spouse as a beneficiary, there was a separate form for him to fill out, have notarized, and return to the plan custodian.
 

cbg

I'm a Northern Girl
With a 401(k) plan, it is Federal law that the spouse is the beneficiary unless the spouse signs off on another designee. With a 403(b) plan, I believe it depends on how the plan is written (though many still have that provision).
 

ikillratz

Active Member
In this situation, things just seem a little suspicious for a couple of reasons.

1. The deceased was looking to go through a divorce until finding out she would have to pay alimony.
2. Why did the deceased go get the beneficiary forms from the office and then take them home to fill out? I know for my life insurance and own 401K I can do them online and/or real quick in the office, like in 5 min. No real need to take them home to fill them out and then mail or take them back to the office.
3. The deceased apparently had cancer for about 8 months. Why would the beneficiary change right at the very end at the last minute, basically right before she could physically turn them back into the office.
4. The deceased has said she didn't want the husband to get anything also. That was told to family, not sure if that was told to insurance company though.

Maybe it is just me, it just seems the timing of everything is a little off.
 

cbg

I'm a Northern Girl
With my employer, you can do the 403(b) beneficiaries on line but the life insurance has to be done on a paper form. You can, if you choose to, print the form yourself from the university intranet, but you cannot complete the beneficiary designation online.
 

Dandy Don

Senior Member
The papers that the husband had may be forged or fraudulent, and the life insurance company or pension company may not be aware of that.
Or, if the husband had gotten power of attorney, he may think that he had the legal authority to change the beneficiaries, but of course, if he did that, that would be illegal and would be considered abuse of power of attorney. Hence, you need the services of an attorney to get this corrected.
 

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