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  1. #1
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    Jul 2019
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    Default Sister Died Without a Will. My Brother is Designated As Beneficiary of Her Pension Pl

    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: Illinois
    She made him joint account holder of her banking account, and designated him as beneficiary of her employees' pension plan as well as a 401K account.
    My brother just received a letter from the pension plan stating that "the retirement request cannot be processed because the returned paper work was incomplete."
    The Benefits Administrator included a payment election form, a rollover form, and a proof of estate form, specifying in each case that he use a Estate's EIN in place of her social security number.
    My questions:does an estate automatically exist, or will he have to establish one? Is this necessary?
    I am hoping that he can avoid having to fight with any creditors for the proceeds, go through the expense of hiring a lawyer, etc.

  2. #2
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    Jul 2018
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    1,544

    Default Re: Sister Died Without a Will. My Brother is Designated As Beneficiary of Her Pensio

    Quote Quoting skaler
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    My brother just received a letter from the pension plan stating that "the retirement request cannot be processed because the returned paper work was incomplete."
    The Benefits Administrator included a payment election form, a rollover form, and a proof of estate form, specifying in each case that he use a Estate's EIN in place of her social security number.
    My questions:does an estate automatically exist, or will he have to establish one? Is this necessary?
    Yes, an estate "automatically exists," but the fact that the benefits administrator is concerned about the estate having an EIN (actually a TIN) suggests that there's more going on here than you have explained. Since we obviously know nothing at all about your sister's pension plan, there's no way we can provide any intelligent opinions about it.

    If your brother can't figure this out, then he should consult with a local probate attorney.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2019
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    Default Re: Sister Died Without a Will. My Brother is Designated As Beneficiary of Her Pensio

    First step, why doesn't your brother apply for a EIN for the estate? Or you could in his sted.
    https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small...ber-ein-online

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
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    2

    Default Re: Sister Died Without a Will. My Brother is Designated As Beneficiary of Her Pensio

    hey thanks Mark. The link you provided is for an EMPLOYER ident number. I assumed when I saw EIN on the letter the administrator sent to my brother, that it stood for ESTATE ident number.
    Anyway, thanks for your input. I appreciate it.

    Thanks pg1067. I'll pass on this page to my brother. Obviously, I would like for him to avoid probate. I suspect that going through probate will expose the pension money to the creditors that my sister dealt with in her hospital and nursing home stay before she passed.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2019
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    Pugetopolis
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    Default Re: Sister Died Without a Will. My Brother is Designated As Beneficiary of Her Pensio

    Quote Quoting skaler
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    hey thanks Mark. The link you provided is for an EMPLOYER ident number. I assumed when I saw EIN on the letter the administrator sent to my brother, that it stood for ESTATE ident number.
    It's the same number and process for employers and estates

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    246

    Default Re: Sister Died Without a Will. My Brother is Designated As Beneficiary of Her Pensio

    Why should her estate not be responsible for paying her bills? It is obvious that he is unable to negotiate the process without help - and you are not in the best position to provide it since you are suggesting that the estate NOT pay what is due others. It is possible that the funds in the part of her estate that must be used to pay bills will not cover them and her property be sold so do not start giving things away. He - with your help if he needs basic assistance - should at least make a list of the assets and consult an attorney. Small estates can be closed simply in many states.

    There are also numerous websites listing what should be done when someone dies. Find several and start reading/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    7,350

    Default Re: Sister Died Without a Will. My Brother is Designated As Beneficiary of Her Pensio

    Quote Quoting OKisNotOK
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    Why should her estate not be responsible for paying her bills?
    The estate is responsible for paying the bills of the decedent. But financial assets like bank accounts, insurance, etc that pass to beneficiaries designated with the financial institution are the not part of the estate and do not go through probate.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    15,521

    Default Re: Sister Died Without a Will. My Brother is Designated As Beneficiary of Her Pensio

    Quote Quoting skaler
    View Post
    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: Illinois
    She made him joint account holder of her banking account, and designated him as beneficiary of her employees' pension plan as well as a 401K account.
    My brother just received a letter from the pension plan stating that "the retirement request cannot be processed because the returned paper work was incomplete."
    The Benefits Administrator included a payment election form, a rollover form, and a proof of estate form, specifying in each case that he use a Estate's EIN in place of her social security number.
    My questions:does an estate automatically exist, or will he have to establish one? Is this necessary?
    I am hoping that he can avoid having to fight with any creditors for the proceeds, go through the expense of hiring a lawyer, etc.
    Yes, an estate has to be opened, and legally any creditors must be paid from anything that did not have a designated beneficiary. Anything that had a designated beneficiary passes outside the estate, so I do not understand why the benefits administrator is asking for an EIN number. If you give them the EIN number then the check will be written to the estate rather than the beneficiary, which would be improper. Its the beneficiary's SSN that should be included on the form, not the estate's EIN.

    Of course, if for some reason the retirement account never had a beneficiary listed on it, then the money would have to go to the estate.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6,338

    Default Re: Sister Died Without a Will. My Brother is Designated As Beneficiary of Her Pensio

    Quote Quoting skaler
    View Post
    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: Illinois
    She made him joint account holder of her banking account, and designated him as beneficiary of her employees' pension plan as well as a 401K account.
    My brother just received a letter from the pension plan stating that "the retirement request cannot be processed because the returned paper work was incomplete."
    The Benefits Administrator included a payment election form, a rollover form, and a proof of estate form, specifying in each case that he use a Estate's EIN in place of her social security number.
    My questions:does an estate automatically exist, or will he have to establish one? Is this necessary?
    I am hoping that he can avoid having to fight with any creditors for the proceeds, go through the expense of hiring a lawyer, etc.
    I disagree with the notion that an estate has to be opened to resolve a question of beneficiary rights to the accounts be they banking, savings, employer pension, or private retirement accounts. The probate laws really have nothing to do with a settlor's intent in creating a totten and designating a beneficiary upon their death. The Illinois courts have said so in many opinions. One such case.

    I would not muddy the waters by opening an estate in probate to resolve this issue. Hence, I would not provide an EIN for the estate nor letters testamentary or letters of administration.

    The first action I would take is to contact the pension admin. and ask for copies of the POD document, the plan regulations, and ask why POD document was deemed incomplete. This must be done by the designated beneficiary.

    The payment election form and the rollover form could have significant tax consequences and I would not fill them out unless reviewed by an attorney. What should happen is that the account be transferred to the name of beneficiary and nothing else at this point.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    1,544

    Default Re: Sister Died Without a Will. My Brother is Designated As Beneficiary of Her Pensio

    Quote Quoting OKisNotOK
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    Why should her estate not be responsible for paying her bills?
    What is the point of this question? The OP wrote, "I suspect that going through probate will expose the pension money to the creditors that my sister dealt with in her hospital and nursing home stay before she passed." That may not be a true statement because "the pension money" may not be an estate asset.


    Quote Quoting OKisNotOK
    View Post
    It is obvious that he is unable to negotiate the process without help - and you are not in the best position to provide it since you are suggesting that the estate NOT pay what is due others.
    Ummm...the OP suggested no such thing, and you obviously have no clue what these folks are and aren't able to do.

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