Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Texas

Here in Texas my wife befriended an elderly neighbor who designated her to beneficiary of her dwindling IRA. The neighbor passed in January 2014 my wife in March of 2014 prior to any action of neighbors will or probate.

My wife had no will, so it all assets considered jointly owned, was transferred to me uncontested by her adult children.

I learned of the IRA situation in late 2014.

The bank that holds IRA says estate should just write a check equal to the sum approximately 4 K.

the attorney of the estate is uncooperative taking that step he suggests the bank just cut me a check. the bank says to do that I must go to probate small claims.

please advise there must be a simple solution

Asked on 2/21/16, 12:08 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Arthur Geffen Arthur H. Geffen, P.C.

Typically IRAs are passed by beneficiary designation. When the neighbor died, the money became your wife's. Inasmuch as your wife never claim the money prior to her passing, it belongs to her estate. In order to get the money from her estate, Since your wife did not have a will, and assuming that the amount in the IRA along with the other assets excluding your homestead does not exceed $50,000, then you would qualify for a small estate affidavit and order under the Texas Estates Code. This is not a difficult task and is not very expensive in terms of legal fees. That being said depending upon what county you and your wife lived in the time of her death, you may actually be able to do this yourself. It requires submitting an affidavit inappropriate form along with the order approving the affidavit, there is no court hearing and if the affidavit is done correctly roughly 3 weeks after it is filed you or the attorney who does it will receive a signed order approving the terms of the affidavit. With that you should be able to get the money in the IRA that is being held by the bank

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Answered on 2/21/16, 1:31 pm

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