Phillipsburg, NJ asked in Probate for New Jersey

Q: How can I claim proceeds of a life insurance policy when a beneficiary is deceased?

My aunt had passed away in NJ in 2014 leaving a life insurance policy of $17,000 with 2 beneficiaries. The beneficiaries are her two siblings, one being my father who had passed away in 2015. My surviving aunt, also a beneficiary (executor of my deceased aunt's estate) has already claimed her share. The life insurance company is requiring that I submit a small estate affidavit and tax ID # to claim my father's share of the policy. To my knowledge, there was never an executor for my father's estate since he died in a nursing home with little or no assets. How do I acquire the small estate affidavit? Do the courts need to be involved? The life insurance policy will send a check to me endorsed to the "Estate of (my father's name)." What do I need to do to cash this check? I would greatly appreciate any advice.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: If the small estate affidavit is done correctly, the check should end up being made payable to your father's heir(s). If you are his only heir, then it should be made payable to you. You should hire a local probate attorney to help you with you. It is a fairly simple matter and should not be terribly expensive. If you wait too long the unclaimed insurance proceeds will end up escheating to the state, and then it might be even harder to claim it.

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