What are an ex-spouse’s rights to a deceased ex-spouse’s assets?

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What are an ex-spouse’s rights to a deceased ex-spouse’s assets?

My ex-husband died 6 weeks ago. He never changed the beneficiary on his credit union account, of which I am still listed as the beneficiary (under my maiden name). My ex’s mother wants to obtain court papers to be executor of his estate and also wants the money in that account. Additionally, there are at least 50 savings bonds with both our names on them and she is stating I have no right to them according to our divorce decree. He is the main person on the bond and I am the secondary. What are my rights?

Asked on July 8, 2014 under Estate Planning, Missouri

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Please take that decree and a copy of the beneficiary designations to an attorney to review.  Missouri has what is called a "revocation of non probate assets upon divorce" statute and these assets may indeed come under that purview. That being said, beneficiary designation forms can indeed govern distribution.  Fighting, though, may only diminish estate funds and your personal funds.  So find out your rights and then consider striking a deal.  Good luck.


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