Must the beneficiary of an insurance company share the proceeds with their siblings?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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Must the beneficiary of an insurance company share the proceeds with their siblings?

My father recently died but before he passed he changed all but one of his life insurance policies making all his kids beneficiaries. He forgot to change one of the policies which was still in his decease wife name. The contingent of the insurance policy was her daughter, our stepsister. He also verbally called all of his kids including our step sister into a meeting letting us know his wishes that we split everything evenly. He also put that in his will. She decided to go against his wishes and kept the insurance policy for herself. Is there a way to fight this?

Asked on September 2, 2015 under Estate Planning, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

No, there is no way to fight this, based on what you have written. Leaving morality and fairness aside i.e. what the stepsister should or should not do
1 If there is a named beneficiary to a policy, the policy proceeds do not pass through the estate and are not subject to the will. They go directly to the beneficiary, per the policy, which is a contract.
2 A will has no effect on anything not part of the estate.
3 Verbal or oral wishes are not controlling, and someone does not need to follow them.

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