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#1 Bawldy_1962

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:52 PM

Hello,

First off, my wifes father died May 2011. There was no will, no spouse and she is only child. I understand that she is entitled to the estate. We live in WV first off. She was able to get the house and cars within a reasonable amount of time. There was money in the bank account that just got settled a few months ago. We ended up with a small portion of it after funeral, atty fees, etc.
The problem is that there is decent sum of money in a retirement account that he had. She was told that she is entitled to that as well. Now the estates atty is saying that the check from the company with benefits has to go through the sheriffs office as well as the estate attorney. We have been told for months now that it should be finished next month and here it is months later. Does all this sound like proper procedure or is there anything more we can do?

#2 harrylime

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 02:18 PM

The problem is that there is decent sum of money in a retirement account that he had. She was told that she is entitled to that as well.


Was she the designated beneficiary of the retirement account?

Now the estates atty is saying that the check from the company with benefits has to go through the sheriffs office as well as the estate attorney.


Who is the administrator of the probate estate?

Through the sheriff's office? Did your wife ask why?

#3 knort4

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 02:23 PM

The estate attorney is trying to fool your wife into thinking it belongs in the estate, when it most likely doesn't. The company holding the retirement account has handled situations like this in the past, so hopefully they are making payouts according to the law. Find out from that company whether your wife was designated as a beneficiary on the account or whether there was no beneficiary. If you have any doubt after talking with the company whether your wife will receive the check or not, you need to be consulting with your own probate attorney or business law attorney.

#4 pg1067

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 02:49 PM

We live in WV first off.


Did your father-in-law also live in WV?


She was able to get the house and cars within a reasonable amount of time.


Not sure exactly what this means. The only way for your wife to "get" her father's house and cars in any sort of meaningful way would be to have title transferred, which typically would require probating the estate. Was his estate probated? Given your reference to an estate attorney, I have to assume it was.


The problem is that there is decent sum of money in a retirement account that he had. She was told that she is entitled to that as well.


Why is this a problem? By whom was she told this?


Now the estates atty is saying that the check from the company with benefits has to go through the sheriffs office as well as the estate attorney. . . . Does all this sound like proper procedure or is there anything more we can do?


Not really clear what this means, so I would think your wife would want to ask the estate attorney or the executor what exactly it means. Obviously, your wife can hire an attorney herself to represent her interests.


We have been told for months now that it should be finished next month and here it is months later.


Told by whom?

#5 pg1067

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 02:53 PM

The estate attorney is trying to fool your wife into thinking it belongs in the estate, when it most likely doesn't.


This is a baseless statement. We have no way of knowing if the attorney has this sort of ill intent. Nor do we have any way of knowing whether the poster's wife was designated as the beneficiary of the retirement account, whether there was no designated beneficiary, or whether the estate was expressly designated as the beneficiary. Without any information to go on, there is absolutely no reason to think that the money "most likely doesn't" belong to the estate. Added on 1/4/13: The OP's follow up post tells us that the money (most likely) does belong to the estate and demonstrates why it's rather imprudent to make statements like this without having the relevant information.

I certainly do agree that the poster's wife should attempt to ascertain whether a beneficiary was designated and, if so, who was designated, and that, if the poster's wife was designated, the money should go directly to her.

#6 Bawldy_1962

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 12:35 AM

Was she the designated beneficiary of the retirement account?



Who is the administrator of the probate estate?

Through the sheriff's office? Did your wife ask why?

Was she the designated beneficiary of the retirement account?



Who is the administrator of the probate estate?

Through the sheriff's office? Did your wife ask why?

There was no beneficiary named and that is why the administrator of the estate told her she would be entitled to the remainder of the retirement. The company confirmed that she was entitled to recieve the benefits.

The administrator of the probate is a state appointed attorney as we were living in another state at the time and my wife had no idea of how to handle this.

When she asked why it went through the sheriff's office the attorney said all esates had to go through sheriff's office first (?).

Edited by Bawldy_1962, 04 January 2013 - 01:07 AM.


#7 Bawldy_1962

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:48 AM

Ok. I have never been on a forum like this and can't seem to get the whole quote thing down. I will answer all the questions to the best of my knowledge in order.

Titles to cars and house were transferred to wifes name after 90 days. The estate is currently still in probate.
She tried to get an answer out of probate attorney and as far as I can tell and from what she told me the sheriff's name as well as the probate attorneys names have to be on the check that is sent out. I assume since the probate attorney is handling this case the check from retirement company will be made out to him and the sheriff's office. My wife is terrible at asking questions and the probate attorney doesn't like to speak with me as though it is really none of my business although we have been married for 13 years.

She was told by the probate attorney that she was entitled to the retirement fund. As per the company he worked for has told him.

We have been told by the probate attorney that it would be finished by July, which his part was. There was a decent amount of money in the checking account. About 1/4 of the money went to the Sheriff for "taxes". 1/4 went to the attorney as his fees. 1/4 went to funeral home to pay for burial expenses. A small sum went to various debts, electric, cable, water....etc.
The rest went to us.

This has been going on since May of 2011 and since there is no will, no spouse, no siblings this should be finished up by now. Am I out of line assuming thi

Thank you all very much for your replys.

#8 harrylime

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 06:55 AM

"Retirement fund" is very generic term that could cover many types of plans. If there is no designated beneficiary, some plans might have a default to spouses, children, etc. in the plan's provisions. But, most (I am guessing on the "most" part) would make the distribution to the probate estate, and, then, from the probate estate to the heirs.

Unless there are some complicated matters with the probate estate, that is a long time. But, when one allows the court to appoint an attorney to administer the estate, it sometimes happens. The administrator has no "skin in the game" and really does not have an incentive to act as quickly as possible.

If you and your wife are now in WV and close to the court in which probate is occurring, you can always go there to view the probate case file.

#9 pg1067

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 07:36 AM

There was no beneficiary named and that is why the administrator of the estate told her she would be entitled to the remainder of the retirement. The company confirmed that she was entitled to recieve the benefits.


Subject to the caveat mentioned by "harrylime," if there was no designated beneficiary, then the money is an asset of the probate estate. If the money is not needed to pay estate expenses, it will eventually go to your wife as the sole heir, but she has no direct claim against the money.


When she asked why it went through the sheriff's office the attorney said all esates had to go through sheriff's office first (?).


This makes a little bit of sense since you said the administrator is a lawyer appointed by the state. If, in effect, the state is administering the estate, it may be that the mechanism by which payment is made is through the sheriff. Ultimately, however, if your wife wants this explained, she'll have to ask a WV lawyer.


This has been going on since May of 2011 and since there is no will, no spouse, no siblings this should be finished up by now. Am I out of line assuming thi[s.]


We're talking 20 months. That is not out of line for an estate that owns real property, although, if the real property was transferred to your wife quite a while ago, then it is a little on the long side. However, as far as I can tell, your wife essentially punted this whole matter and left it to the estate to administer her father's estate. Under such circumstances, one cannot expect things to happen particularly quickly. Without intending to sound harsh, if she wanted it handled expeditiously, she should have hired her own attorney (and still can do so).

#10 Bawldy_1962

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:43 AM

Thank you all for your great responses and advice.

#11 Guest_FindLaw_Amir_*

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 11:25 AM

Glad to hear you were satisfied with the responses.

Keep us posted.




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