Does a life insurance policy payable to the “next of kin” supercede a Will?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Does a life insurance policy payable to the “next of kin” supercede a Will?

My grandmother died 8 years ago. My grandfather (her husband) died about a year later. My grandmother had a life insurance policy naming my grandfather in place that he never collected on. In my grandfather’s Will, his estate and all remnants of the estate known or unknown was to be divided among all children and grandchildren equally. The insurance company is now seeking his next of kin (my father and uncle). Should the insurance policy payout be considered part of the estate to be divided among children and grandchildren or only the the direct next of kin?

Asked on February 8, 2012 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

Steven Fromm / Steven J Fromm & Associates, P.C.

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Without reviewing the entire sitaution and documents no definitive answer can be given.  If grandfather survived and was named beneficiary of the life insurance then the proceeds are an asset of his estate and should be controlled by the will.  However, without looking at the policy, it is hard to say as the company may be looking at contingent beneficiaries.  If they do not know that he survived the insured, then they are giving wrong advice.  Hire an estates attorney to get the assistance you need.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

This is really not an easy question to give guidance on here.  Technically if your grandfather died after your grandmother the insurance policy should have gone to him upon her death.  SInce he was alive when she diedI think that it "vested"in himand would then go to his estate upon his death.  That would make it distributable through his Will. It sounds as if the insurance policy is teating it differently and as if he pre-deceased her.  But even so then most policies state it goes to the estate of the policy holder. I would have an attorney inquire here.  To protect your interests have the executor send a certified letter to the insurance company and let them know that the estate is claiming the funds and that you wish them to"interplead" the funds into court. Good luck. 


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption