Birmingham, AL asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Florida

Q: My father passed a few months ago and only listed my little sister on the policy. I am his first born son. Any help

Can I get help with recovering any of the policy payout.

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3 Lawyer Answers
Barry W. Kaufman
Barry W. Kaufman
Answered
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Insurance proceeds pass directly to the beneficiary on the policy; these do not pass through the probate system. There is no ability for the Court to change the terms of the insurance policy.

Carol Larmond Grant and Phillip William Gunthert agree with this answer

Phillip William Gunthert
Phillip William Gunthert
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Orlando, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: I am very sorry for your loss on the passing of your father, please accept my condolences. The only assets that will go through probate are the ones in your father's name alone. If a probate has not been done and there are any assets of this type, they will be handled at that time via the probate according to your father's Will or if there is no Will, then according to the Florida Intestate Statutes. The only person with a guaranteed right in a probate is the surviving spouse (if no pre or post nuptial agreement was signed) and children under 18. As far as any accounts with a pay on death or transfer on death or beneficiary designation (like a life insurance policy), it passes to the named person outside of probate. It appears that you have no recourse with the life insurance as it designated your sister only on the policy. You may have options and ability to inherit through probate other assets in your father's name if there is a Will that names you or if Florida Intestate Statutes apply. If you have not probated the estate, then you will want to speak with a Florida Probate Attorney if you feel that a probate will be needed for any assets beyond the life insurance policy. I will add, it is often the case that a parent puts a policy in one child's name with the intention for them to distribute equally and do the right thing, as you can imagine, often the right thing and what was intended is not done.

Carol Larmond Grant
Carol Larmond Grant
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Davie, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: The insurance proceeds pass according to the designated beneficiary thereby avoiding probate. Of course, if there was some fraud related to the signing of the beneficiary form or if your father was incapacitated at the time the form was signed you might have an argument. Please know that this is a stretch, and would be difficult to prove.

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