What to do if a life insurance policy does not list a beneficiary?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What to do if a life insurance policy does not list a beneficiary?

My dad just recently passed and he had a life insurance policy through his job but he did not

name a beneficiary. I am an only child. What do I need to do?

Asked on February 12, 2018 under Estate Planning, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If there is no beneficiary named, the proceeds should go into his estate. If they do into his estate--his general "pool" (for want of a better word) of assets left behind when he died--they will be distributed as indicated by his will (if he had one) or by your state's rules for "intestate succession," or who gets what when there is no will--which, if you are an only child and your father was not married at time of death, will be you. However, if they go through his estate rather than directly to you as named beneficiary, then if he died with lots of bills or creditors, it's possible his creditors could get part or all of the proceeds, since creditos of a deceased have recourse against his estate.

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.

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