Englewood, CO asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Colorado

Q: In CO, 2x ERISA plans worth $200k w/ beneficiary as 15 yrs removed ex-wife (no children of marriage) but 93 yo mom alive

We are in Colorado - but federal law might determine the answer to this question. There is an 93-year old mother of recently deceased son (no children) who is not the named beneficiary of two of her son's ERISA plans. Rather the nasty ex-wife 15 years removed still is the beneficiary named on those two plans, and she is keenly aware of that fact. The divorce was in Colorado, and the divorce judge specifically ordered all the retiement accounts to be kept separate - husband keeps his, and she kept hers. Despite that divorce order, and even Colorado estate law saying the contrary, I am of the understanding that ERISA law probably controls who the beneficiary of those plans is no matter how unfair or contradictory it seems? Anyway, I know this may seem like splitting hairs, but if the ex-wife is indeed the beneficiary, is that synonomous / has practical effect of ex-wife also recieving and spending all the money $$ under those two ERISA plans as the beneficiary, or is there a way to g

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1 Lawyer Answer
Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Philadelphia, PA

A: I am not a Colorado attorney and you ultimately must get with a Colorado estates/tax attorney to get a definitive answer. I can only tell you that in PA this surviving spouse would NOT be allowed to take as beneficiary since she is divorced from the deceased husband.

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