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Seeking advice....my father retired two years ago and start receiving his pension from a labor union, which is 100 percent funded by employers. I am the only child, he is single, and I was left with a large burial bill, property taxes, and other estate bills. I discovered he changed his beneficiary on his pension to a friend, who will start collecting his monthly pension. Is there anything I can do at this point to receive his pension? Override the beneficiary or Obtain a DRO to assist with the expenses?      

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I am not a lawyer, but it is unlikely that any changes can be made to the beneficiary since payments have started, especially if the survivor benefits are contingent on the designated beneficiary's survival (that is, if there are payments to be made as long as the beneficiary is alive).  You should probably check with the plan administrator on this.

As for seeking a DRO, DRO's can only be honored by pension plans to the extent that they provide support for spouses or other dependents of the plan participant.  Can you make a legitimate argument that you should be treated as your father's dependent?

If there is any value to the estate, you should probably seek restitution from the estate for any death-related expenses you have paid (like the burial costs). Further, if there is little or no value to the estate, perhaps it would be acceptable for you to refuse to accept responsibility for any of the estate bills or property taxes.  At worst, the municipality can fight it out with the mortgage holder for the house.  Are there any laws in your state that force adult children to pay for such things?

You should probably check with a lawyer on this.  As I said, I am no lawyer, so do not rely on what I said above.  It is my understanding that people who have died can leave assets to their heirs but not debts, but, again, I am not a lawyer and don't even know what state's laws are involved.

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25 minutes ago, david rigby said:

Please note that the other discussion was also posted today by the same person about the same issues.  Between the two discussions, I (speaking as a non-lawyer) have had my say!

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