Skip to main content

I need to know how to get my deceased brother retirement funds to pay off funeral costs?

Chicago, IL |

My brother passed without a will or power of attorney. He has a retirement fund in which we are trying to get to pay off funeral and storage fees. Do I need to set up estate account and what will be the costs, What about the IRS, other agencies that may be included in this process.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3


Too few facts are furnushed to answer you here. Please consu consult in person with a probate attorney.


If he had a valid beneficiary designation on the retirement account, those funds will be paid directly to the beneficiary and would not require opening an estate. If there is no beneficiary designation, then his estate will receive the funds. Start by getting that question answered first.

If there are funds in the estate and it is less than $100,000, you may be able to settle the estate by using a small estate affidavit.

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois and have an office in Kane County. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you this answer helpful.


If your brother had no beneficiary named, then it may or may not be necessary to open an estate to obtain the retirement funds. So the first thing that you need to do is advise the retirement people of his passing and ask whether an estate will need to be opened. Then, depending on what you find out, I would suggest that you consult with a local probate attorney.

Good Luck!

Legal Disclaimer: Paul A. Smolinski is licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois only, and as such, his answers to AVVO inquiries are based on his understanding of Illinois law only. His answers are for general information about perceived legal issues within this question only and no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to extend any right of confidentiality between you and Mr. Smolinski, to constitute legal advice, or create an attorney/client or other contractual relationship. An attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement including an evaluation of the specific legal problem and review of all the facts and documents at issue. We try to insure the accuracy of this information, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy. The reader should never assume that this information applies to his or her specific situation or constitutes legal advice. Therefore, please consult competent counsel that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer