My brother received his life insurance and 401k inheritance about a month after our mother passed in '03. He was 19 at the time. I was 5 when she passed, and my aunt was selected as my guardian. She was only appointed temporary, but I've lived with her ever since she passed. She also wasn't given power of attorney. I'm 17 now, three months until 18. We were told by my mothers company I would receive the 401k as I was a beneficiary on my 18th birthday. BUT!!!! We weren't given any documents about it. And every time my aunt tries to call and ask them about it, they use the same excuse. They either get disconnected(which they just hang up) or say that no one is there, or we will leave a message but never get a call back. I was planning on using this for my college. This worries me because I have a strong feeling that they won't give it to us, if it's even still there. We really can't afford an attorney if it comes to it. So yea. I'm just wondering. I've read that it gets handed out over 5 years after death. I'm thinking it was given to the state since my aunt was never given power of attorney. The money would really help with my college, and I'm a senior this year. Thank you
You may need to see an employment attorney to determine under the US. Department of Labor's ERISA law what happened to the balance due you. Alternatively, you could possibly see an estate planning attorney, if there was one involved when your mother died. Expect to pay at least $250 to $500 for the consultation. You could try the local Legal Aid Society if you are unable to afford this consultation otherwise. Technically, your aunt should have gone to what is called surrogate court to get control as guardian over assets due you later, at age 18. If the balance due you is small however she may have hesitated to hire an attorney to do so.
Consider consulting with a fee-only advisor as many of us are skilled and getting funds transferred out of employee benefit plans. You may also want to consider filing a complaint with the Department of Labor and FINRA.
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room N5623 Washington, D.C. 20210 Phone: (202) 693-8664
FINRA Investor Complaint Center, 9509 Key West Avenue Rockville, MD 20850-3329 Phone: (240) 386-4357
Warmest Regards John Essigman www.bluecreek.net
Hi Alex, That's very common in equitable property states. Assuming such inheritance was passed by operation of law or bequest to heirs. Such inheritance can be held with plan trustee into a conservatorship account with restrictions imposed due to state prudent investor rule. As you were deemed to be minor at time of death, such proceeds would have been assigned to the court appointed guardian. Any amount that was not distributed to your brother and held for your benefit could be perfected by reaching age 18 and filing a release of funds with estate representative. Here is my office number 2396762320 for you to call and discuss it further. good luck!