How does the distribution of life insurance work if the named beneficiary has died?

UPDATED: Aug 13, 2012

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How does the distribution of life insurance work if the named beneficiary has died?

My dad died leaving me as his executor of his Will. His wife, not my mother, died 4 months after he did. Then 2 years later, I found another life insurance policy of my dad’s. I put in a claim for it. Now I am being asked all of this information about my stepmother because since she was named as the beneficiary. I have already supplied death certifiates of both to the insurance company. Do the children of my dad get this money or do the children of his wife? The insurance company keeps sending me papers to fill out on my dad’s spouse asking for Small Estate Affidavits and information on who was the executor of her estate. She didn’t even have a Will that I know of.

Asked on August 13, 2012 under Estate Planning, North Carolina


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  If your step mother was alive when your father passed away then she would have been entitled to collect on the insurance policy.  So now her estate will be entitled to collect.  So it will pass via the intestacy statiute in your state if there was no Will and likely it will go to her children.  Good luck.

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