Divorce Solutions

Question #138

I’ll attempt to make a long story short. My father recently passed away and had worked for one company for many years. I was contacted by a representative from this company asking for his ex-wife’s address. During their divorce, she received a sizeable lump sum and signed away any financial benefit after his death. Thirteen years later, is she eligible to receive money from his pension? I’m the executor of the estate, and I would like to know the correct process for keeping this money away from her. I don’t even know what the total sum of the benefit comes to…they wouldn’t release the information. I don’t know her current address; no one from our family kept in touch with her after the divorce. This was his second wife, whom he didn’t want to be notified that he was ill or notified of the funeral. She was written out of all other life insurance and veteran’s benefits. I would rather the money go to charity if there is no option to place that money into the estate. Am I legally responsible for finding her? Does she receive a benefit even if she signed off in the divorce? The divorce occurred one year after he retired from the company. She took over 70,000 from a retired man in his 60’s. If she is eligible for the money, I hope she spends it on a one-way ticket to hell. Thanks in advance for your time and reply.

The answer to your question should be found in the Separation Agreement, which your father and his ex-wife executed before their divorce. I would have to examine the Separation Agreement to tell you with any type of certainty that she no longer has any benefit in the proceeds of his retirement account. You, as the executor of the estate, should not do anything with the funds until you have a determination regarding this potential claim.

Please call me at 212-370-1660 to discuss the matter at greater length. This seems to be a relatively simple matter which can be resolved quickly and with a minimum legal cost.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions