Asked in Probate

Q: Wills and life insurance

Mom and stepdad have 2 kids from previous marriage. Each has a will saying that if one passes, the surviving spouse keeps everything. Stepdad passes in 2018. Mom passes in 2020 and her life insurance lists her deceased husband as beneficiary. Who now has claim to the life insurance?

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: It depends on exactly what the life insurance policy says and whether there are any contingent beneficiaries listed. If the policy lists lists the husband as primary but somebody else as secondary (or contingent), then the secondary benefit claims the life insurance. If the policy does not list a secondary beneficiary, then most likely the life insurance proceeds are now an assets of the husband's probate estate. However, sometimes a policy provides that if there are no living beneficiaries, then the estate of the owner receives the proceeds, so you need to explore this with the life insurance company. I would start by sending them a letter than identifies the policy and encloses both death certificates.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.