Back in 1987, Jeffrey Rolison (pictured) named his ex-girlfriend from 34 years ago as the sole beneficiary on a handwritten form – a designation that often takes precedence over a will.

A decades-old beneficiary form has ignited a fierce legal battle over a Pennsylvania man’s hefty retirement account. 

Margaret Losinger, now 68, is set to inherit nearly $1 million from her ex-boyfriend’s retirement plan, but the deceased man’s brothers are contesting the claim.

Losinger dated Jeffrey Rolison in the 1980s. Back in 1987, Rolison named her as the sole beneficiary on a handwritten form – a designation that often takes precedence over a will. 

Now, Rolison’s brothers, who only recently learned of Losinger’s claim, are taking legal action. Richard, one of Rolison’s brothers, told DailyMail.com: ‘The whole thing’s been overwhelming.’

This case highlights a growing trend: disputes over who inherits retirement savings due to outdated or incomplete beneficiary forms. As millions of Americans accumulate significant retirement funds, these situations can lead to unexpected windfalls for some and heartbreak for others.

Back in 1987, Jeffrey Rolison (pictured) named his ex-girlfriend from 34 years ago as the sole beneficiary on a handwritten form – a designation that often takes precedence over a will.

Back in 1987, Jeffrey Rolison (pictured) named his ex-girlfriend from 34 years ago as the sole beneficiary on a handwritten form – a designation that often takes precedence over a will.

Now, Rolison's brothers, who only recently learned of Losinger's claim, are taking legal action. Richard, one of Rolison's brothers, told DailyMail.com: 'The whole thing's been overwhelming.' (Pictured: Jeff Rolison on the left, Brian Rolison on the right in the green, and Brian's son, Nick center)

Now, Rolison’s brothers, who only recently learned of Losinger’s claim, are taking legal action. Richard, one of Rolison’s brothers, told DailyMail.com: ‘The whole thing’s been overwhelming.’ (Pictured: Jeff Rolison on the left, Brian Rolison on the right in the green, and Brian’s son, Nick center)

Court documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal detail how Losinger met Rolison while playing frisbee in their early twenties. The couple moved in together, with Losinger envisioning marriage and children. Rolison, however, wasn’t on the same page.

After two years, Losinger, wanting a family life, ended the relationship and moved out. She married someone else and had children, while Rolison went on to have a long-term partner, Mary Lou Murray.

While working at a P&G plant, Rolison signed up for their savings plan. During that initial enrollment in 1987, he listed Losinger as his beneficiary. However, their romantic relationship had ended two years prior.

Losinger maintains she ‘wanted marriage and children’ while ‘he did not.’ Rolison never updated the beneficiary designation on his retirement plan.

Following Rolison’s death at 59, Richard and his other surviving brother, Brian, became co-administrators of his estate. They were surprised to learn about Losinger’s beneficiary status.

Losinger now stands to inherit the entirety of Rolison’s P&G plan, which has grown to over $1.15 million. The brothers have been fighting Losinger and even P&G in court, arguing that the company failed to properly inform Rolison about his beneficiary options.

P&G, however, claims they provided adequate warnings, including online statements and service provider change notifications. One such message stated: ‘You don’t have any beneficiary designations online. Any prior beneficiary designations on file with the Plan will be retained by P&G, but are not viewable on this site.’

The brothers argue this message was unclear and could have been misinterpreted by Rolison. They believe the plan should have defaulted to the estate if no clear beneficiary was designated.

Despite the arguments, the court ultimately sided with P&G and Losinger.  

The brothers, however, are not giving up and have appealed the decision.

While working at a P&G plant, Rolison signed up for their savings plan. During that initial enrollment in 1987, he listed Losinger as his beneficiary. However, their romantic relationship had ended two years prior

While working at a P&G plant, Rolison signed up for their savings plan. During that initial enrollment in 1987, he listed Losinger as his beneficiary. However, their romantic relationship had ended two years prior

P&G, however, claims they provided adequate warnings, including online statements and service provider change notifications. Despite the arguments, the court ultimately sided with P&G and Losinger

P&G, however, claims they provided adequate warnings, including online statements and service provider change notifications. Despite the arguments, the court ultimately sided with P&G and Losinger

The ordeal has caused many to question how Rolison’s retirement plan fell through the cracks.

Employee benefits lawyers said there’s room for improvement in how retirement plans handle beneficiary designations. While plans could do a better job reminding participants about old paper forms, the ultimate responsibility lies with employees to keep their information up-to-date.

This is different from health insurance, where yearly re-enrollment prompts people to confirm their beneficiaries. Without such reminders, retirement plans are more susceptible to neglect, Peter Gulia a lawyer specializing in employee benefits told WSJ.

This lack of regular updates likely contributed to the confusion in Rolison’s case. He diligently updated his life insurance beneficiary, first naming his mother and then his partner Murray. 

However, he may not have realized the need to do the same for his retirement savings.

With no clear beneficiary designated for the retirement account, the court awarded the money to the named beneficiary on file, Losinger. Rolison’s brothers believe this wasn’t his intention and are appealing the decision.

The brothers sold Jeffrey’s BMW collection to pay for funeral services, and they split the workplace life insurance and the house.

However, Rolison’s retirement savings are still in escrow, waiting to be distributed.

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