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My ex husband, who worked for HEB in Houston died on the 12th I believe. He was very close with his daughter from his 1st marriage, but not with my daughter. He still owed approx 9k in child support. My question is, If he had life insurance or a 401k through HEB and he left it all to his 1st daughter, is there anything that can be done to ensure my daughter gets her half?

Asked on June 15, 2018 under Estate Planning, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) Your daughter has no right to the life insurance if it was left to his other daughter: in that case, the other daughter was the beneficiary, the money is *hers* and was never your ex-husband's: it did not become part of or pass through his estate.
2) Similarly, if the 401(k) had the other daughter designated as a beneficiary for it go to her on his death, it goes directly to her, not through his estate, and your daughter has no claim on it.
3) Your daughter (or you for her, if she is a minor) can sue his estate for the child support debt and potentially recover from other assets (e.g. bank accounts; real estate) he left behind--that is, from things which are part of or which do pass through his estate: e.g. anything that would be distributed as per his will, if he had a will. But for $9k, it is not 100% clear that the effort and cost of the lawsuit would be worthwhile: suing an estate can be complex and you'd most likely need to hire an attorney.

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 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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