From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My mom died a resident of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania and named her girlfriend as beneficiary of her life insurance policy and pension. I was listed as a secondary beneficiary. Can my mother give her life insurance and pension to her girlfriend instead of her children?
In Pennsylvania there is no requirement that a mother leave her children any part of her probate estate. There is also no requirement that your mother had to leave her life insurance to a child. Pensions may have their own sets of rules about where the pension benefits have to pass at death, but these rules usually protect a surviving spouse, not children. You may wish to contact her benefits person who oversaw your mother’s pension to see if she violated any rules by skipping a child in favor of a girlfriend.