Does state law override a beneficiary designation?

UPDATED: Jun 16, 2011

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Does state law override a beneficiary designation?

My wife is listed as beneficiary of 60% of her mothers TSP account and full beneficiary of her pension. The surviving spouse gets 40% TSP and the life insurance. The spouse is saying he gets the pension no matter what because TX state law overrides what her mother has written. He says the law states that the spouse gets the pension, is this true?

Asked on June 16, 2011 under Estate Planning, Texas


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

TX law would control in a situation such as this. A individual's wishes cannot override state statute. If they could what would be point of having such laws; people could simply do as they wished. These statues were enacted for a spouse's protection so that they could not in effect be disinherited (or at least not receive their rightful share of an estate and /or non-probate assets). I'm afraid therefore that no matter what the Will states, TX law controls.

At this point an attorney in the area should be consulted as to exactly how such assets are divided in TX.

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