Father has recently remarried. He has his house; she has hers. Both are paid for and cars are paid for. My dad has an IRA which my brother and I are beneficiaries. We begged for a pre-nup, but they didn’t get one. If my father should pass, does his new wife get any of his IRA?

You ask a very interesting question. The answer is…it depends. Federal law says that pensions must pass to the surviving spouse by operation of law. An IRA is not a pension, however, it acts like a pension in many respects.

I agree that your father should have considered doing a pre-nup, but he didn’t. For IRA or pension purposes, it may not have mattered, because only a spouse can give up rights to a pension…not a girl friend or fiance. Tell your father that if he really wants the IRA to go to you and your brother he must take some additional action. I would recommend that he and his new bride go down to the office of the financial advisor and fill out the form which says she gives up her rights to the IRA. The form must be from the financial advisor and it must be notarized. If not, the beneficiary designation may not work.

This answer does not constitute legal advice and does not and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The law may vary depending on the state in which you reside. It is intended only to give some direction in which to seek assistance.

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