What if the beneficiary on the life insurance policy is also deceased?

UPDATED: May 30, 2009

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What if the beneficiary on the life insurance policy is also deceased?

My mother-in-law passed away. The beneficiary on her life insurance policy was her husband who passed away 8 years ago. The check came in the mail made out to him. How do we go about cashing it? Who does it belong to? There are three children in the family. My mother-in-law will not have enough money to pay all of her bills. Will this money have to go towards that?

Asked on May 30, 2009 under Insurance Law, Minnesota


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

Yes, I'm afraid that the money will have to go to her creditors.  I'm not a Minnesota lawyer, but I doubt that the law of your state is different enough to change the result.  If the beneficiary of a life insurance policy dies before the insured, and no new beneficiary is named, the money goes into the estate of the insured -- your mother-in-law.  Whoever is the executor or personal representative of your mother's estate should get a certified copy of her husband's death certificate, and mail that back to the insurance company with the check, asking that it be re-issued to the estate.

For more information, including discussion of any additional facts that you haven't included in the question, you should talk to a wills and estates lawyer in your area.  One place to look for an attorney is our website, http://attorneypages.com

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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