What rights do children have to their father’s life insurance proceeds?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What rights do children have to their father’s life insurance proceeds?

My children’s father just passed away. We were never married; our children are 15 and 16 years old.His life insurance policy beneficiary is his ex-fiancee; they separated 6 months ago. He then moved in with his mother when he got sick; he was very ill for months and did not change the policy, although witnesses in the hospital right before he died stted that he wanted it changed. Do I have any legal rights to contest so my children receive the policy money?

His ex-fiancee said she told him to change it and wouldn’t take the money but rather give it to our children. I’m not sure if I believe that and if she is serious. What can I do legally to make sure she holds up to her word?

Asked on October 8, 2016 under Insurance Law, Pennsylvania


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, your children have no legal right to their father's life insurance proceeds; they goes directly to the named beneficiary. What the beneficiary then chooses to do with the proceeds it up to them. This is true even if the owner/insured wanted to change the beneficiary but failed to do so prior to their death. Additionally, your children cannot make a claim based on their being beneficiaries/heirs of their father's assets since such proceeds pass outside of a person's estate. 

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