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Guest beppie_stark

Small Benefits Payable to Estate

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Guest beppie_stark

Our 401(k) plan states that the estate will be the default beneficiary of an unmarried participant. We have several very small balances (under $1000) payable to the estates of employees for whom we have very little information on family relationships -- although most have designated a beneficiary for their employer-paid insurance.

If I could find a family member I could get an Affidavit of Heirship completed but I have a couple of foreign nationals where this does not appear possible.

How has anyone else handled similar cases?

I would like to petition the probate court in the county of residence to either supply contact information for the personal administrator or, if the estate has not been filed with the court, to accept the life insurance beneficiary as the beneficiary of the estate comprised of the 401(k) balance. But it isn't worth the legal fees to hire an attorney in each jurisdiction. Eventually administrative fees will deplete the accounts.

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Probate records are public record and many jurisdictions have information available online. You probably won't need to have hire a lawyer to find out who the personal representative is, if a probate estate has been opened.

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