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Betty Ashley has been receiving payments from her late husband’s annuity for more than 20 years. He served as a US Postmaster, and the annuity was to help Betty after his death. But without warning, the checks she had relied on every month suddenly stopped. Perplexed, Betty reached out to the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM), asking about the missing money. She was told she needed to prove she was still alive.
While Betty will be 101 this summer, she was the Grand Marshal of the Gasparilla 5k earlier this year, and even walked the route when she was in her 90s. Betty’s daughter, who was trying to help Betty sort out the problem, explained that, at 100 years of age, they really had no reason to think that Betty was still alive. However, they hadn’t received any evidence to the contrary, and there wasn’t any obituary or death certificate they could point to. They were just working under an assumption.
Betty is still very much alive. She sent the OPM a picture of herself, holding up a recent newspaper. She also sent them a notarized form, attesting to the fact that she was indeed still alive. While that should have been sufficient, it wasn’t enough to get her payments started again. It’s been more than six months of missing payments, and the OPM hasn’t been responding to questions. It’s not clear what Betty and her daughter will do if the payments don’t resume.
According to a previous email from the OPM, the payments were supposed to be sent, along with any back amounts, on the 13th of May. That day came and went, with no money and no answers. It remains to be seen whether Betty will have success with getting her payments started up again. She’s been using them to pay her quarterly taxes, which have gone up again this year.
Creating or updating your estate plan to reflect your wishes as your life changes can help ensure those wishes will be honored when you die or become incapacitated. To learn more, contact The Estate Planning & Legacy Law Center today!