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My dad was killed in a motorcycle accident,he was retired operating engineer,i am the benificiary

Bullhead City, AZ |

he was still married but had no contact with the surving spouse in over twelve years and lived in another state also,my question is ,isnt that desertion or abandonment?and is there a statue of limitations to how long i have to file a law suite?

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Attorney answers 5


You didn't say what state you were from or what you are the beneficiary of. In Illinois, your father was survived by a spouse and yourself and any siblings you may have. These are his "heirs" under Illinois law.

If you are the beneficiary of a company retirement plan (like a 401(k)) then the plan administrator is obligated to send the money to the surviving spouse even if you are the named beneficiary. This may not seem fair but that is the law. This is Federal law so it won't matter what state you are in. The only exception is that if his wife signed a qualified waiver then the money is yours.

However, if after retiring your father rolled over his retirement plan to an IRA and named you as beneficiary then the money is yours. The rule that the plan administrator has to send the money to the spouse only applies to company sponsored (ERISA) plans.

This is not legal advice as I don't know where you live or what your father's estate consisted of. The best recommendation is to make an appointment to see a local estate administration attorney.

Good luck.

Nothing in this response constitutes legal advice. I am not licensed in Missouri and I am responding based on my general knowledge of estate administration law only.


There are many issues here that need to be addressed and every state as their own laws so without additional details it is impossible to give you an accurate response. If you believe your father was not at fault for the accident, I highly recommend that you obtain an attorney to investigate that matter right away. That attorney should be working on a contingent fee basis so it will not cost you anything to have someone investigate it.

With respect to the probate issues, you should contact a local counsel to discuss your specific case in more details. I do not recommend waiting to do so either, in some states, the person to file as the personal representative of the estate has a leg up on controlling the proceedings.

I am sorry about your loss and wish you the best in this trying time.


The other two answers are good. Please re-post your question saying what state your father was a resident of and in which state he had his motorcycle accident. Then you will hopefully get answers taking into account the state law.


The question requires knoldge of both fedeal ERISA law & Estate law. See both a lawyer and a good CPA they can help.

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I am very sorry for your loss.

You need to contact a Wrongful Death lawyer in the state where the accident occurred or at least where your father lived. From there a qualified lawyer can walk you through the rules of survivors and who can bring claims. Further they can speak to you about which, if any, insurance policies apply to the accident. Lastly, of course, they can talk to you about Liability and proving up a case like this.

Do not delay! Contact a wrongful death lawyer immediately.

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