Hermiston, OR asked in Probate for Oregon

Q: In Oregon when a descendant dies with a pension, but was never married or had kids, is it possible for the affiant to

collect the pension to help with the descendants debts? The affiant filed a small estate affidavit and is a benificary listed in will, but is not blood related. Thank you for any help

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2 Lawyer Answers
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: First you need to determine whether the pension had a survivor benefit. Usually a pension ends upon death unless the pensioner elected a survivor benefit in exchange for a lower monthly benefit. If that election was made then the designated survivor beneficiary can collect the pension by providing a death certificate to the payor of the pension.

Theressa Hollis agrees with this answer

Joanne Reisman
Joanne Reisman
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: Technically you should be able to deal with the Pension but you may have these possible obstacles:

The managers of the Pension Fund may not be a familiar with Oregon's small estate affidavit procedure and they may not want to deal with you. A lawyer could help you sort this out.

It may be that the Pension has it's own way of dealing with distributing the Pension, ie a list of alternative beneficiaries if the Pension holder dies and has not named a beneficiary. You can notify the Pension of the account holders death and send them a copy of the death certificate and the contact information for the alternate payees. These payments, direct to alternative beneficiaries, would avoid any debts of the decedent.

Some pensions are only a stream of payments while the person is alive and there is no residual benefit that gets passed down to heirs.

If this is a tax deferred fund, then the Pension will need information for tax purposes and there may need to be an election made as to the timing of the distributions. If it is paid in a lump sum to the decedent's estate, then the Pension may need to withhold taxes.

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