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My father-in-law who recently died accidentally wrote himself as the beneficiary for some investments many years ago. Now the company will not give his wife the money even though The Will says she is the beneficiary of everything. It was essentially a clerical error where he signed his own name by accident, is the firm partially responsible for not checking signatures, etc. A lawyer is charging between 6-9K to fix in probate. Is firm responsible/partially responsible since they are ultimately in charge.

  • "Now the company will not give his wife the money even though The Will says she is the beneficiary of everything." A Will is just a napkin with pretty writing on it until it is probated. A Will has nothing to do with non-probate transfers like a beneficiary designation. – ohwilleke Mar 6 at 6:34
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It is quite normal for a person to name themselves the beneficiary of an investment- even a life insurance policy. If such a person were to die, the funds would be payable to the estate, which means the executor for distribution to the beneficiaries of the will.

It is normal for organisations to hold such investments to await probate which is when the executor legally becomes the executor. The executor’s costs, including legal fees (as well as payment for their time - good wills provide a capped fee for this), are payable by the estate.

The fee you have been quoted does seem high for an uncontested probate - shop around.

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