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Retirement fund after his passing

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I had a court ordered payment of one of his retirement accounts
we called and tracked down the account
I was told they would send me my options
I called a month later and fidelity said they would not pay it out
I have a court order and all the necessary document
He passed in 2015
this was supposed to be paid out at his retirement
some say I need a Qudro but I cant get one because he is dead
What actions can I take to get what is rightfully mine?
Fidelity made the decision not to pay after all of the hoops they asked me to go thru and paperwork to produce


Senior Member
Absent that QDRO being properly created and delivered to the plan administrator I think you are up the creek..the plan administrator is /was required to follow the plan and the participants benificary designation ....and it is probably way too late to file a claim against his estate .

IF for some strange reason the funds are still in the account ..the order you have might meet the necessary requirements. IF you serve it upon administrator ...but I highly doubt funds are there or divorce order by itself is adaquate .


Under the Radar Member
You could speak with an attorney and see if there is anything to be done. Why wasn't the QDRO done at the time of the divorce?
It wasnt to be paid until his retirement and The Lawyer never said anything about a QDRO
The money is in the account Fidelity told us so
why I am posting here is to see IF an attorney could do anything for me
I am the beneficiary on the account too
Fidelity was very cooperative at first and them decided to not pay


Senior Member
IF you are a named beneficiary I don't see the problem to collect via that route unless you are named as wife . And it's possible you are entitled to the whole account if you are the only named benificiary ..not just the amount that would have been due via had a QDRO been in place.

There is something missing...and it makes sense for Fidelity to do nothing until the smoke clears

ITs possible but odd that retirement was not separated earlier


Under the Radar Member
And it's possible you are entitled to the whole account if you are the only named benificiary ..not just the amount that would have been due via had a QDRO been in place.
I suspect not - the account would most likely still be split as directed in the divorce, with OP getting whatever portion she was entitled to, and the rest to his ex's estate.


Senior Member
I suspect there is a equally good case that the plan pays out as directed in the plan agreement ...apparently no QDRO was ever served upon the plan administrator. There are some other possibilities ..such as deceased named his "wife " not the OP by name and or the provided for nominal survivor benefits .....and it sure would help if OP got a hard copy of the plan agrement and designations .


Senior Member
WHat kind of retirement account ...one covered by ERISA as are most employer plans or a personal IRA or what ? State law may be controllijng on private accounts while Federal law is likely controlling under ERISA. And some states automatically void the designation of prior spouse as benificiary upon finalization of divorce .

TO me it seems odd that your share of divorce of division was not locked in place back with final order ..to key it to his actual retirement is odd or missing something

Generally a pension plan benefits follow the plan designation of survivor...they are not part of probate estate. .

ITs entirely possible a QDRO can be entered posthumously .

I know enough to know your dots do not connect as posted and that you need somebody with solid legal expertise on retirement plans in divorce situations to review your order and the specifics of the plan in question.
It is in Alabama.
I was not a 401k just called a retirement plan in 1999 speak
How can a QDRO be done posthumously
Ex was very controlling probably why things were not set up like they should and definitely why he became an Ex


Senior Member
Employer plan or personal plan ? IT matters as to what if ERISA applies.

It was up to you and your attorney to protect your interests in the division of assets in divorce ...if a QDRO was the proper tool , then your side of equation dropped that ball.

You best keep digging on this one...if Fidelity releases the funds to current spouse it may be ultra hard to reconstruct your getting them even if that is proper answer.

ME, I'd deliver an ExRecord ( Offical copy ) copy of that order that says the proceeds are mine by certified return receipt mail darn soon upon the plan administrator at Fidelity ....that might gum up distribution until you can further sort it out.


Senior Member
THats probably good news as employer plans are covered by ERISA and Federal rules trump state rules ...some state rules automatically cancel the wife as benificiary upon divorce .

QDROs are a bit of a legal subspeciality...seek out a pro with that skill set to advise on steps to nudge funds loose .

Personally , if you were represented by counsel, you got horrible legal advice to wait to end to complete the division ...
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