You posted this question before in another practice area listed on this forum, albeit you provide more facts now, and colleagues answered your question in the affirmative - the brokerage account funds are yours. We also recommended that you retain counsel.
In contested court proceedings it is usually more prudent to appear and appear with counsel and not pro se because knowing case law isn't the only thing that is involved in good advocacy. So I suggest you find an attorney who is willing to advocate for your rights.
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I would suggest that the answers to both of your questions are yes. You DO need to show up at the hearing and you DO need to have an attorney. It is not clear why your attorney believes you cannot win. But this kind of case has been a VERY hotly litigated area of law, the past couple of years. Yes, under ERISA, you are entitled to receive the account, as the designated beneficiary. Whether or not you can keep it is the more pertinent question. Different circuits have different answers, with many of them imposing a constructive trust on you, to recover the proceeds. Without an attorney, there is a very good chance you will lose. It sounds like based on your former attorney's research of the case law, you may lose either way.
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