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From Mary Dunlap

By Staff | Feb 9, 2011

Dear Readers:

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) can completely rule out your loved one’s wishes as to who receives the insurance money at the time of your loved one’s death.

My husband Chuck made me the sole beneficiary of the insurance money he had through the company provided by Ormet. It was filled out on Dec. 16, 2005: one month before he passed away of cancer.

On Jan. 17, 2006, just two days before he died, my own family stabbed me in the heart. My son and Cindy his daughter contacted Ormet to fax them a blank beneficiary form which was filled out, splitting the $164,500 between our four kids. According to the INS book, this was not legal.

This new form went back to Ormet with only one witness, no notary, and a signature that did not look like Chuck’s (who was incoherent at this point.) Even so, it was accepted.

I fought for years over this incident. Shortly before I was to go before a judge on the matter I went to my lawyer who simply stated, “It’s over, ERISA won.” At the beginning of the case my lawyer was positive there was no way we could lose.

No one, especially Judge Frederick P. Stamp Jr., ever heard the case. Would Judge Stamp want his wife to have what he intends to leave her at the time of his death? He made a serious ruling without hearing any of my evidence. I feel I should be able to appeal this.

I not only lost my husband, but my entire family. I wish they would remember all I’ve done for them and put themselves in my shoes, and remember where most of Chuck’s 401K went: to help pay for all they selfishly wanted.

Chuck wanted me taken care of. He said we did not need a will, as I was the sole beneficiary on his policies. I made it to the hospital 45 minutes before he died, but was kept from him. I’ve had no closure. Chuck’s death should have brought our family closer, but greed tore us apart.

I am writing this to warn everyone: you really never know anyone, not even your own children. I’m sure Chuck’s beautiful smile is no longer there because of what they all did to me, to us.

God bless,

Mary Dunlap

New Martinsville