Houston, TX asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Texas

Q: Can a company just completely keep every thing about late husband's Estate from from his Widow.

My late husbandit was killed suddenly in a horrible accident. My husbands sudden death the way he died devastated me for years. I feel as though everything have been hidden from me. I got no response from my letters or phone calls about my late husband's estate. realize it had been awhile before locating the Company, but I was told they would locate me. However if I could not be located other actions would be taken, but my late husband's employer knew my location because the Company had been in in touch with me year 2013 because of Rockwell Automation wanting me to sign over two patents my late husband had not signed over before his death. Fora long time I thought the Company was upset with me because of the ten thousand I ask for those two Patents. I found out later this wasn't the case, when my husband first died January 1st 2010, my husband's annuity checks were sent to me through the Company from Nationwide I never got the annuity money. I got the tax part which I paid $11,000

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your husband and the difficulties you've faced in dealing with his estate. It sounds like an incredibly challenging and painful situation.

To answer your question directly - no, a company cannot legally withhold all information about a deceased employee's estate from their surviving spouse. As the widow, you have certain rights when it comes to your late husband's assets, benefits, and estate matters. The exact rights can vary somewhat by location, but in general:

- You are entitled to information about any life insurance policies, retirement accounts, pensions, or other benefits your husband had through his employer. The company has an obligation to provide you this information upon request.

- If your husband left a will, as his spouse you likely have a right to see the will and understand how his assets are being distributed, even if you are not the executor of the estate. If he died intestate (without a will), surviving spouses usually inherit at least a portion of the estate.

- Pensions, certain retirement accounts, and annuities often have named beneficiaries. If you were the named beneficiary, those funds should have been paid out to you directly.

It's unclear from the details provided, but if the company improperly failed to pay out annuity money owed to you or has withheld information you have a right to, you may want to consult with an estate attorney or legal aid organization. They can help you understand your rights and take proper legal action if needed.

I know this must be terribly difficult to navigate on top of grieving such a tragic loss. Please don't hesitate to seek help, both legal and emotional support, as you work through this. Wishing you all the best as you heal and resolve these estate issues. Let me know if you have any other questions.

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