Trusts & Estates

Lawyer Forgot to Change IRA Beneficiary, So the Money Went to His Ex-Wife, Not His Widow


After a bitter divorce, Newman Trowbridge Jr. presumably didn’t intend to retain his ex-wife as his beneficiary on his Individual Retirement Account.

But when he died unexpectedly in 2009, the beneficiary still hadn’t been changed. And it didn’t help his widow’s case, when she sued in an effort to collect on the IRA, that Trowbridge was a sophisticated attorney who routinely oversaw his own estate-planning decisions, according to Penton Business Media post on Insurance News Net.

Although no one seemed to think his ex was the intended beneficiary, she got the money anyway after a FINRA arbitration.

The moral of the story? This scenario is not that unusual, the article says. “Many supposedly sophisticated professionals and business persons simply fail to stay on top of their estate planning and, more often than not, the one thing that they overlooked is the one thing that turns their heirs’ lives upside-down.”

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