Asked in Securities Law and Estate Planning for Texas

Q: Can the executive of a will over ride the Beneficiary for investments

I am the Beneficiary for the investments my ex-wife made she passed away in2019 her executive of the will told me that she gave everything to her Granddaughter I asked for the paperwork and he told me that I was trying to dig up dirt on my ex-wife. Can he override the Beneficiary for investments

1 Lawyer Answer
Paul Premack
Paul Premack
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Your divorce eliminated your name as beneficiary on investments. Investments like a mutual fund or stock are allowed to have a "pay on death" or a "transfer on death" designation. Sometimes the accounts will be in both names, with a "right of survivorship". The goal of those arrangement is to pass title to the investment when the primary accountholder dies, without reference to the Will and without probate. However, Section 123.151 of the Texas Estates Code states that any pay on death arrangement is "not effective" upon divorce, annulment, or voiding of the marriage when that arrangement was for the benefit of the former spouse or a relative of the former spouse. So, the Executor did not "override the beneficiary"; rather, Texas law says you are no longer beneficiary, and that the investment passes pursuant to your ex-spouse's Will, not to you.

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