Can a wife of a little over year contest a life insurance beneficiary?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can a wife of a little over year contest a life insurance beneficiary?

My grandfather recently passed away and his new wife of only a year is contesting everything. We recently found out that she is contesting the life insurance policy that was left as my dad beneficiary. Can she legally do this? My grandfather was of sound mind when he signed it to go to my dad.

Asked on July 12, 2016 under Insurance Law, North Carolina


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The proceeds of a life insurance policy (as well as a 401k, TOD accounts, etc.) pass outside of probate. This means that the designated beneficiary takes outright; there is no need for court involvement as beneficiaries/heirs of the deceased have no legal rights to such proceeds. Bottom line, your stepmother can contest this policy, unless there is evidence of your grandfather not being of sound mind or unduly influenced, etc. when he took out the policy, she has no grounds to prevail.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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