California  |  Wills and Trusts

Legal Question

Asked on: 9/20/13, 10:30 am

Probate. Decedent left a retirement account with a named beneficiary who cannot be found. Is there a procedure whereby the court can order the fund to disburse the funds to the estate so that they can be distributed pursuant to the terms of the Will? Funds would be going to a church.

1 Answer


Answered on: 9/20/13, 4:54 pm by Timothy McCormick

I have not researched this exact point, but I am pretty certain the answer is, "no." I believe that when the beneficiary of an account cannot be found that does not mean they lose the asset. It must be held for them to claim for a certain amount of time and then it escheats to the State, specifically the Secretary of State's Office to be held for their benefit and for them to claim. I'm not sure if that is forever, but it is certainly for many decades, and I don't believe it ever goes to the estate of the account holder.


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