Worcester, MA asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts

Q: I need to claim a retirement plan in mass but my mom lived in florida when she passed how do I do this

the retirement plan is in mass and she passed away in florida in a nursing home I am the only remaining family member. mass told me to file a small estate affidavit I am not sure how to go about any of this

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1 Lawyer Answer
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: If you are the named death beneficiary of the retirement plan, then all you need to do is provide a death certificate to the plan administrator. If you don't know if you are the named death beneficiary, provide a copy of the death certificate to the plan administrator anyway. That will get the process rolling. Different plans have different rules for who inherits if there is no named death beneficiary. Sometimes it will go to the surviving spouse if there is one or to the children if there are any. But sometimes it goes to the estate, which will require some sort of probate procedure. If that is your situation (the death benefits are payable to the estate), then you should contact a local probate attorney for assistance.

If she owned no real property and all of her other property (including bank accounts and the retirement plan) total $25,000 or less, might be able to get away with a small estate affidavit. You will need a death certificate and the will (if any) as well. The affidavit and attachments need to be filed with a court near where the decedent had lived. You should have an attorney assist you with this. The procedure is simple enough (for an experienced attorney) that it should not be very expensive, and you will gain peace of mind knowing it is done right.

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