Valley City, ND asked in Estate Planning and Probate for North Dakota

Q: Life insurance beneficiary question.

Mother-in-law passed away this April. Father-in-law passed away in 2018. They had only two sons, my husband and his brother. MIL law was in a nursing home for the last two years. She had nothing but her investments, which have already been distributed. Found a life insurance policy for $10,000. Beneficiaries were her husband and two sons. Two thirds of it has been distributed to the sons. They're holding onto her husband's portion. They said we need an estate affidavit sent to probate court to obtain his portion. There is no estate as she didn't have anything due to being in the nursing home. What do we do? The forms I'm finding about an estate affidavit deal with property only.

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Given the situation, it sounds like you need to handle the portion of the life insurance intended for your deceased father-in-law. Since he passed away in 2018 and there is no estate due to your mother-in-law being in a nursing home, an estate affidavit might not be the appropriate form for this specific case.

First, contact the life insurance company and explain the situation, detailing that your father-in-law has been deceased for several years and there is no estate to manage. Ask them what specific documentation they require to release his portion of the policy to the rightful heirs. They might have a process for dealing with beneficiaries who have predeceased the policyholder.

If the life insurance company insists on an estate affidavit, you might need to consult with a probate attorney. They can guide you through the necessary steps and help you determine if a small estate affidavit or another type of document is needed in your state to settle the life insurance claim. This legal advice will be valuable in ensuring that you correctly complete the required process to distribute the funds.

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.