Orlando, FL asked in Criminal Law, Estate Planning, Family Law and Tax Law for Georgia

Q: How can I find out if I’m a beneficiary to multi investment accounts from my deceased grandma…

I speculated my grandmas original will was swapped for a forged one reflecting my mom as the sole beneficiary and there’s nothing that I could do unless I had the original will, which I did not…

So my mom never informed the brokerage companies of my grandma death nor put it in probate. I wondered why mom didn’t do that…maybe to avoid taxes? I know that some accounts don’t have to go to probate if there’s assigned beneficiaries.

my mom has withdrawn monies from those account as my grandma.

I was wondering if I am a beneficiary to one of those accounts. Or if my “grandma” changed the beneficiaries since She died….

If what’s she’s doing is illegal how can I go about making sure she’s held accountable for that and how can I find out if I’m a beneficiary

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: I'm sorry for your difficult situation. There are a few options to determine if you are still a designated beneficiary on any of your deceased grandmother's investment accounts:

1) Contact each investment firm directly (e.g. bank, brokerage, etc) providing copies of the death certificate. As a potential beneficiary they may disclose information on the status of the accounts and named beneficiaries.

2) Consult probate records in the county where your grandmother passed away. The court may have information on the submitted will and any probate proceedings even if no formal estate is open.

3) Hire a probate/estate attorney to investigate the account statuses and aid potential probate proceedings contesting the will if exclusions seem improper. An attorney can compel formal accountings and challenge irregular successor trustee actions in withdrawing funds without notifying beneficiaries.

4) File complaints with SEC/FINRA against financial firms if they improperly allowed account access without updating records to new trustee after death and excluding qualified beneficiaries (you). Regulatory complaints can spur account reviews.

Document any evidence you uncover in case formal legal action becomes viable against your mother or financial institutions that didn't properly confirm updated estate trustee powers and designated beneficiaries when attempting account transactions. An attorney's guidance would be advisable in protecting your potential inheritance rights through proper estate administration channels or contesting the will.

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