deceased ex spouse left money now being denied me

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Latest post 05-13-2010 12:24 PM by bethhster. 6 replies.
  • 05-12-2010 8:49 AM

    • bethhster
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    deceased ex spouse left money now being denied me

    My deceased ex husband left me a small annuity from his retirement. I received word of his death from his retirement company in January 2010 and that he had left me a small annuity, about $3000. and asked me to fill out the necessary papers on how I wanted to receive the payment, by monthly payments or lump sum payable through 2012 and a copy of his death certifcate.

    I phoned them recently to see when I could expect to see the money.  I was told by his retirement company that I no longer qualify to receive the funds.  They received a copy of our divorce decree from his divorce attorney. In that divorce decree I agreed to take nothing from his retirement now or in the future.  We were married in Washington, DC and divorced in the state of IL. At the time of his death he was living in WI and I live in MA.

    My question:  Does my divorce decree supercede his later decision of leaving me this small annuity? I am willing to consult an attorney but not sure if I need to contact a divoce attorney or?  I'm assuming that I will need to contest this?

  • 05-12-2010 9:08 AM In reply to

    Re: deceased ex spouse left money now being denied me

    bethhster:
    Does my divorce decree supercede his later decision of leaving me this small annuity?

    Hard to say.

    Depends on a lot of factors.

    Date of the divorce decree. Exact wording of the provision regarding the retirement. Type of annuity. Whether the annuity was a separate policy taken out after the divorce or the survivor benefits of his pension/retirement plan. Date you were made beneficiary.

    Example: If the annuity was the survivor benefits from a pension/retirement plan and you were listed as beneficiary before you were divorced and he didn't remember to change it after the divorce, then (depending on your state law) the divorce could have eliminated you as beneficiary.

    There might be nothing to contest.

    Before you spend money on a lawyer you might call the retirement company back and see if they'll give you an explanation and cite statutes that apply.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 05-12-2010 9:23 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: deceased ex spouse left money now being denied me

    Laymans take--there may be a different technical issue--but my layview of your question

    It may not be cost effective to use counsel to chase $3000--so do more homework yourself if possible

    My view is the annuity contract stands as written, firm is not a party to the divorce. If EX contracted to pay you, the firm needs to pay as per contract--ESPECIALLY if he contraced that way after divorce but even if he so contracted before divorce and let his contract stand. In a sense he gave you more than was required, its not a question of you taking more than was allowed .

     

    Now there may be a separate  issue under the  retirement company terms and conditions that one cannot leave a benefit to anyone but a surving spouse unless there is a court order to that effect  , a QDRO, and your EX made a mistake to leave it to a nonspouse --now if language like that is in the retirement plan  you are probably up the creek,- go read plan cover to cover, line by line.



  • 05-12-2010 1:19 PM In reply to

    • bethhster
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    Re: deceased ex spouse left money now being denied me

    We divorced in 2004 in IL. He passed away Dec 2009 and I was contacted by them in January 2010.  Based on the letter and information they had given me my ex was collecting on this annuity in monthly installments and based on this contract I could collect the same monthly payments he was drawing OR take a lump sum which is what I had elected to do.  My sense is that he set this up after the divorce.  He was reunited with his daughter a little more than a year ago and I'm quite sure the bulk of his estate goes to her and her 3 children.

    I need to find my divorce papers to see the actual wording. 

  • 05-12-2010 2:03 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
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    Re: deceased ex spouse left money now being denied me

    I'm not so sure the divorce order is the final word--yes you need it--but the actual contract /annuity beneficiary designation may be the final word

    Youalso want a copy of the plan beneficiary designation and the plan rules  itself

     

    This is not an entirely rare situation--the divorce order says do X and some separate contract or title says do Y

    One way or another he apparently had plenty of time to remove you or not add you to his annuity and I lean as a mere layman towards the contract stands the way it was written/designated to pay say  Sally Jones on my death if she survives me.   (Unless the contract incorrectly said pay my wife and there is no such person now. !)

    You sort of want copies of  both docuements for a competent divorce attorney to review --I'll bet in 15 minutes or less a skilled attorney can tell you with high odds which way the winds will blow-and well worth whatever his or her minimim charge is to comment on the issues -now to engage counsel to actually go advocate your points if the wind is in your favor is a multiple billable hour quest.....

     



  • 05-12-2010 5:30 PM In reply to

    Re: deceased ex spouse left money now being denied me

    bethhster:
    My sense is that he set this up after the divorce. 

    Then the date of the beneficiary designation becomes critical.

    Some states have statutes that prevent a divorced beneficiary from collecting unless the beneficiary designation form was updated with the same beneficiary after the divorce.

    So if the beneficiary designation was updated after the divorce, that could constitute a waiver of the divorce provision that you not take any of the retirement money.

    If he had originally listed you as beneficiary before the divorce and then started collecting his pension without updating the beneficiary form, you could be out of luck.

     

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 05-13-2010 12:24 PM In reply to

    • bethhster
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    • Joined on 05-11-2010
    • MA
    • Posts 3

    Re: deceased ex spouse left money now being denied me

    Divorce decree states:

    #4 Any right, claim, demand or interest of the parties in and to the maintenance for themselves, whetether past, present or future, and in and to the property of the other, whether real, personal or mixed, of whatsoever kind and nature and wheresoever situated, including, but not limited by homestead, succession and inheritance, arising out of the marital relationship or any other relationship existing between the parties hereto, except as espressly set forth in the aforesaid Agreement, is forever barred and terminated.

    does not sound good huh?  comments?

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