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Hi from far away...
Old 10-15-2009, 04:31 PM   #1
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Hi from far away...

Moderator, if you don't like this question or a question from a non-US resident, just delete it, no hard feelings.

This is not a request for charity - though if you are suspicious by nature and read it quickly you might get that impression. So, send no money!

I live in the UK. I have no idea how US taxes and pensions work. An elderly friend lived in New York for years. She is now completely unable to look after her affairs and will run out of funds for her care home in the forseeable future. I am trying to discover whether her husband made any provision for her in his pension (401K?).

My question is - is this type of pension restricted to an individual, or does it include provision for a spouse or partner? Might she have an entitlement to a share in it?

Any guidance would be truly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 10-15-2009, 04:42 PM   #2
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A person's 401k is their own. But a spouse might inherit it if the owner dies. Or if a person gets a divorce a court might award them part of the other spouse's 401k. We don't know enough facts to know if she has any rights in any current or former spouses 401k.

If she is nearly broke and disabled she might be entitled to medicaid to pay for her care. It sounds like she needs someone here in the US helping her out with these things.
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Old 10-15-2009, 05:20 PM   #3
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Martha, thanks for your swift reply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha View Post
A person's 401k is their own. But a spouse might inherit it if the owner dies. Or if a person gets a divorce a court might award them part of the other spouse's 401k.
a) What about if the spouse refuses to contribute while they are both living and not divorced?
b) do they have to be legally married? i.e. adoes a marriage certificate have to exist to confer these benefits?
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:10 PM   #4
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I'm sorry, but I can't know enough facts to really tell you anything helpful. If they aren't married then you have to try to come up with some legal reason why she might be entitled to part of his 401k. There or may not may be an argument, depending on the situation, but if he isn't cooperative litigation would be required to enforce a claim. If she even has one.

If he didn't contribute to a 401k while they were married (if they were married) there probably isn't much you can do about that. There are things I would like my husband to do but I sure can't make him do what I want.

CLearly there is a lot more to this story, that is why I said that your friend should have someone here in the US to help her out. Anything I might say really won't be of any practical help.

Please note that no one on this forum can give you legal advice on these issues.
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:13 PM   #5
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Berty,
Laws vary among the US states concerning rights of spouses, live-in partners, etc. It is almost certain that your friend will need legal advice on her options. Has she any family who could get involved?
As Martha mentioned, the US program Medicaid provides medical care for the indigent. It will pay for very basic care in a nursing home if your friend qualifies (by her disability and by virtue of having very few assets). Medicare (the US medical program which pays for medical care for most elderly people in the US, poor or not) does not pay for long-term nursing home care.
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Old 10-16-2009, 05:19 AM   #6
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
Laws vary among the US states concerning rights of spouses, live-in partners, etc.
Thanks, I had made the wrong assumption there.
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