A Surviving Spouse Unsuccessfully claims ERISA Protections

    In 2010, the California Appellate Court heard a case involving a surviving spouse disputing with the Decedents four children from a previous marriage. Prior to his remarriage, decedent rolled his 401k into an IRA. After his remarriage the decedent took founds from the IRA and opened a second IRA with Charles Schwab where he named his four children as primary beneficiaries.
   After the Decedent's death the surviving spouse argued that ERISA's protections for a surviving spouse continued to apply even after the funds were rolled over into an IRA. However, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court's ruling and held that ERISA ceased to apply when, prior to the decedent's marriage he terminated participation in the employee benefit plan and transferred the proceeds to an IRA. Particularly because IRAs are excluded from ERISA coverage.  If you are in the middle of a will dispute such as this, and live in the California area, you should consult with a Los Angeles probate attorney.
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