They Broke Up In 1989, But Now His Ex-Girlfriend Is Inheriting His $1 Million Retirement Account After Nearly 40 Years

In 1987, Jeffery Rolison filled out a handwritten form naming Margaret Sjostedt as the sole beneficiary of his work retirement account. Nearly 40 years after their breakup, Margaret is poised to inherit Jeffrey's $1 million retirement account because Rolison never updated this form. When he passed away in 2015, she was still listed as the beneficiary.

According to court documents, Jeffrey met Margaret, who now goes by Peggy, in a park while playing Frisbee. They started dating in their early 20s and eventually moved to Sullivan County, Pennsylvania. Margaret worked as a ‘server,' while Jeffrey found a job at a Procter & Gamble (P&G) PG plant. As The Wall Street Journal writes, in 1987, he joined P&G’s profit-sharing and savings plans and filled out a beneficiary card, naming Margaret his cohabitor.

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Two years later, Peggy moved out. She got married the following year and had two children. Jeffrey later started a new relationship with Mary Lou Murray, with whom he lived until they separated in 2014. Jeffrey died at 59, without a spouse or children and the court ruled Murray wasn't entitled to the money or his $66,000 home, collection of used BMWs and two cats.

After Jeffrey's death, his brothers discovered Margaret's claim to his retirement money. Shocked by this, they have been contesting the claim in federal court against P&G, trying to prevent Margaret, now known as Margaret Losinger, from receiving the funds. His brother Brian, a mechanic, told WSJ, "We were shocked."

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In 2020, a court told P&G to give the money to Margaret Losinger. The money is being held while the brothers continue their legal challenge. Their lawyer, David Gould, has asked the court to reconsider the case and filed an appeal. The brothers are not giving up, but changing the court’s decision will be tough.

This situation shows how important it is to keep beneficiary forms up to date. These forms, which tell who gets money from things like retirement accounts and life insurance, can be more powerful than a will, even if they were filled out a long time ago. Federal law usually says that employers have to give these funds to the last named person or a surviving spouse unless the spouse gives up the claim.

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