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Beneficiary changed after death

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ShyCat

Senior Member
What about a 403b plan?
You've already been told that a 403(b) plan is covered under ERISA. ERISA requires the spousal waiver.

It is irrelevant to your situation that there might be some hypothetical retirement plan out there that only protects 50% for the spouse, so there's no reason for anyone to go looking for one.
 

ikillratz

Active Member
You've already been told that a 403(b) plan is covered under ERISA. ERISA requires the spousal waiver.

It is irrelevant to your situation that there might be some hypothetical retirement plan out there that only protects 50% for the spouse, so there's no reason for anyone to go looking for one.
I am just confused on the ERISA law. I looked it up and I see either the spouse gets all of the funds or is only automatically given 50% and the spouse only needs to sign a waiver if they are to get less then 50%. I am just not clear on the ERISA rule and how it is applied to a 403b plan. Does any beneficiary declaration to someone besides the spouse require the spouse to sign off no matter what percentage the other beneficiary is allotted in a 403b plan?
 

ikillratz

Active Member
I am just confused on the ERISA law. I looked it up and I see either the spouse gets all of the funds or is only automatically given 50% and the spouse only needs to sign a waiver if they are to get less then 50%. I am just not clear on the ERISA rule and how it is applied to a 403b plan. Does any beneficiary declaration to someone besides the spouse require the spouse to sign off no matter what percentage the other beneficiary is allotted in a 403b plan?
This is what I keep seeing about ERISA "Under ERISA, if the owner of a retirement account is married when he or she dies, his or her spouse is automatically entitled to receive 50 percent of the money, regardless of what the beneficiary designation says. ... A spouse can forgo his or her right to 50 percent of the account by properly executing a Spousal Waiver." We got a letter from the retirement plan that my mom was never a beneficiary since my uncle never signed off on it. Aunt gave my allotted 50% to my uncle and 50% to my mom. I thought at first the statement above meant the source wouldn't need to sign the spousal waiver since he still gets the 50% and not less. Am I understanding this wrong?
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
Would there be any harm in waiting until funds are dispursed to the correct people?
Once he gets the retirement money it would be much harder to get it back. I realize that your mother wants the life insurance money to be in her own hands rapidly, but the life insurance company should give it to her anyway, now that they have discovered the forgery.
 

ikillratz

Active Member
Once he gets the retirement money it would be much harder to get it back. I realize that your mother wants the life insurance money to be in her own hands rapidly, but the life insurance company should give it to her anyway, now that they have discovered the forgery.
I was talking with regard to turning the fraud over to the District Attorney.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
I was talking with regard to turning the fraud over to the District Attorney.
I realize that. However your point in turning the fraud over to the district attorney is to also make sure that your mother gets the money she is entitled to get (or restitution from the uncle). The longer you wait to file, the further away the money can get. Your mother should get the life insurance money no matter what since the life insurance company said that the document was forged.
 

ALawyer

Senior Member
The life insurance company knows it is obligated to pay the face amount of the insurance plus possible interest from the date of death. It doesn't dispute that but certainly does not want to risk having to pay twice. Therefore, unless both potential beneficiaries agree on a mutually satisfactory disposition, it will file an "interpleader" action and deposit the proceeds in the court, and let the judge decide.

As to who will recover, that's likely to depend on what the exact wording of the policy is, whether the policy was purchased personally or through her employer or another group (in which case the terms of the master policy may come into play), whether the signature on the beneficiary form is in fact that of the decedent, and the particularities of the applicable state law -- which may or may not be that of your state -- Pennsylvania.

As to the 403(b) proceeds, I just don't know. I do know if the rules applicable to the 403(b) are anything like those for a 401(k) plan, the spouse must have formally disclaimed an interest in the proceeds.
 

ikillratz

Active Member
I realize that. However your point in turning the fraud over to the district attorney is to also make sure that your mother gets the money she is entitled to get (or restitution from the uncle). The longer you wait to file, the further away the money can get. Your mother should get the life insurance money no matter what since the life insurance company said that the document was forged.
Well, we now know that the life insurance is supposed to go to my mom and the papers my uncle submitted to the insurance were forged. The insurance did their own investigation and came to that determination and we got a later starting that. For the retirement my aunt never got my uncle to sign the ERISA release on the back so my uncle gets the full retirement due to the ERISA law. He might of submitted forged beneficiary documents to the retirement also not know about the ERISA. The only question we have now is should we wait till we actually get the life insurance funds to inform the district attorney of the fraud or should we do it now. I Think in PA we have 2 years to report the fraud. Just don't want to delay the release of the insurance any longer.
 

quincy

Senior Member
Well, we now know that the life insurance is supposed to go to my mom and the papers my uncle submitted to the insurance were forged. The insurance did their own investigation and came to that determination and we got a later starting that. For the retirement my aunt never got my uncle to sign the ERISA release on the back so my uncle gets the full retirement due to the ERISA law. He might of submitted forged beneficiary documents to the retirement also not know about the ERISA. The only question we have now is should we wait till we actually get the life insurance funds to inform the district attorney of the fraud or should we do it now. I Think in PA we have 2 years to report the fraud. Just don't want to delay the release of the insurance any longer.
You could see if your uncle disputes the disbursement of funds to your mom. Pennsylvania's statute of limitations for fraud IS two years, so you could wait to file a criminal complaint or a civil action (keeping the two year limit in mind). You can consult with an attorney in Pennsylvania to discuss the pros and cons of waiting.
 

ikillratz

Active Member
You could see if your uncle disputes the disbursement of funds to your mom. Pennsylvania's statute of limitations for fraud IS two years, so you could wait to file a criminal complaint or a civil action (keeping the two year limit in mind). You can consult with an attorney in Pennsylvania to discuss the pros and cons of waiting.
Well, 2 days before the letter from the insurance informing everyone that my uncle forged papers to the insurance my mom and uncle signed papers from lawyers saying my uncle would not contest the life insurance and was basically agreeing to give me mom the life insurance. 2 days later is when the letter from the insurance came letting my mom know she was the rightful beneficiary and the documents my uncle sent in were fake/forged. Due to the agreement that was signed can the insurance send out the money without waiting for the 60 days since my uncle agreed not to contest the insurance money?
 

quincy

Senior Member
Well, 2 days before the letter from the insurance informing everyone that my uncle forged papers to the insurance my mom and uncle signed papers from lawyers saying my uncle would not contest the life insurance and was basically agreeing to give me mom the life insurance. 2 days later is when the letter from the insurance came letting my mom know she was the rightful beneficiary and the documents my uncle sent in were fake/forged. Due to the agreement that was signed can the insurance send out the money without waiting for the 60 days since my uncle agreed not to contest the insurance money?
That is a question for the insurance company.
 

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