19-20-1005. Alternate beneficiaries. (1) A decedent's alternate beneficiary is the decedent's estate if the estate is probated.
(2) (a) If the decedent's estate is not informally or formally probated, the alternate beneficiaries are the surviving individuals determined in the following order of priority, the decedent's:
(i) legal spouse;
(ii) natural and adopted children, in equal shares;
(iii) parents, in equal shares;
(iv) grandchildren, in equal shares;
(v) siblings, in equal shares; or
(vi) nieces and nephews, in equal shares.
(b) Payments to an alternate beneficiary under subsection (2)(a) may be made only after the retirement system receives an affidavit from the individual on a form prescribed by the retirement system attesting that to the best of the individual's knowledge:
(i) there is no living individual who is an eligible alternate beneficiary at a higher level of priority; and
(ii) the decedent's estate will not be formally or informally probated.
(3) If the retirement system is unable to identify and locate a surviving individual listed in subsection (2)(a), the alternate beneficiary is the individual named in the decedent's will as the personal representative or executor of the decedent's estate if:
(a) the total amount to be distributed is $5,000 or less;
(b) payment will be made by December 31 in the year of the death; and
(c) the personal representative or executor files an affidavit on a form prescribed by the retirement system attesting that:
(i) no application or petition for the appointment of another executor or personal representative of the decedent's estate is pending or has been granted in any jurisdiction;
(ii) the affiant is not aware of the existence and location of any individual who would be an eligible alternate beneficiary under subsection (1); and
(iii) the affiant will accept the distribution from the retirement system in the affiant's capacity as executor or personal representative under the decedent's will and will use the funds in conformity with the will and applicable law.
(4) A distribution under subsection (3) will be reported for tax purposes as a final distribution to the decedent.
(5) Payment under this section of benefits due shall constitute full discharge of the retirement system's duties and obligations resulting from the death.