Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Oklahoma

I am having trouble getting an annuity paid

I am a successor trustee to a family trust. My mom just passed away and one of her annuities listed my dad as the beneficiary. He passed away in 2002. They set up a family trust in 1994 and transferred assets to it accordingly. I sent the Annuity company a copy of the trust and pour over will (for both parents)that was part of the trust and that was not good enough for them. They are asking for a letter of testamentary or a letter of administration. We don't see any reason to go to probate for the first and I can not figure out what the second is. This has dragged on for 2 months and is frustrating. The trust is very specific in that my dad's assets passed to my mom and then to their 4 heirs when she passed. I can't understand why this is not good enough for the annuity company. Any insight or help would be greatly appreciated.

Asked on 1/29/06, 11:18 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Kurt Kennedy Kurt M. Kennedy,Attorney at Law

Re: I am having trouble getting an annuity paid

Good question. I will try to explain. Apparently, your mother's annuity did not list the trust as an alternate beneficiary. If it had, then upon her death all benefits would pass to the trust without the necessity of probate. Since that is not the case, the annuity co. must pay the benefits to your mom's estate. This will require a probate of the annuity benefits.(There are some limited exceptions. You will need to confer with an attorney about your specifics to find out if any apply.)

Fortunately, your mom had a pour over will prepared and the annuity benefits will be transfered into the trust by the probate court. The Letters Testamentary are evidence that a court has appointed someone(such as you) to act as Personal Representative (executor) of your mother's estate. Once the annuity company has a copy of your Letters, they will be able to pay the annuity proceeds and receive a receipt for payment. This protects them from further liability. Bottom line, that's what this is all about.

Please give me a call if there is anything else I can help you with.

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Answered on 1/30/06, 10:20 am

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