Legal Question in Insurance Law in North Carolina

elderly aunt had dementia,spouse died ,professional conservator hired and she left off contingent beneficiary when changing ownership of an annuity no court order annuity now says momey goes to the estate do I have a case?

Asked on 7/31/10, 12:07 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

You don't give me enough facts. If you are trying to bring a claim on behalf of yourself or your aunt, in what state was the conservatorship created? NC or in another state? we call them guardians in NC and they can be public or private. You say that the conservator was a professional. I am not sure what that means. Do you mean that this was a public conservator?

The guardians are required to post a bond. I assume that you were the contingent beneficiary of the annuity and now you aren't so the beneficiary named on the annuity is the estate. Usually there are no beneficiaries of an annuity. Do you mean life insurance? Or was this a second to die annuity where payments are made and when the annuitant dies, the annuity then goes to the named person. Are you receiving anything under the estate or not at all? I am asking as it may affect your damages.

What does the fact that the spouse died have to do with this? Why was ownership of the annuity changed? Because the aunt's spouse died and she became the new owner, but because she had dementia, a guardian was appointed and the guardian failed to execute the paperwork properly and name yet a third-beneficiary? Again, I am not sure what kind of annuity this is - its would be unusual to have a third-person be beneficiary on a second to die annuity, but its possible. I would have to see the annuity terms. If the facts check out that the public conservator or guardian failed to note a beneficiary and this was supposed to be you, then you can make a claim against the bond. Or are you trying to bring a claim on behalf of your aunt where the public conservator did not do the paperwork correctly and because she failed to list your aunt, the money went into the estate of your aunt's deceased husband? Since your aunt has a guardian, I am not sure that you would be the proper party unless the guardian has been removed.

Because your facts are just insufficient, feel free to contact me so that you can provide more detail, so that I can get a better handle on what is going on and be better able to advise you.

Rachel Hunter

Attorney at Law

[email protected]


Admitted in GA, PA & NC

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Answered on 8/05/10, 3:26 pm

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