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socrateaser
socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 37960
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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My ex-wife recently passed away unexpectedly and there were

Customer Question

My ex-wife recently passed away unexpectedly and there were two life insurance policies in effect at the time. Her parents say that her mother was made the beneficiary of the policies in order to pay out amounts to our children and husband and other persons. However, they will not reveal the amounts of the policies or the amounts that will be deducted for "expenses" and amounts paid to all parties. Do they have the right to be non-transparent? If this is true, do they become executors instead of beneficiaries? And, do they have a legal responsibility to provide an accounting to all "beneficiaries" for the amounts of the policies and also all payments made from those proceeds? And, are they allowed to keep some of the proceeds as a "beneficiary"? State of California. There was no will or trust.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Hello, The named beneficiary of an insurance policy is entitled to the benefit, regardless of California probate law, because an insurance benefit to a named beneficiary is considered a "nonprobate transfer." However, if the money used to purchase the policy was community property (i.e., earnings from either you or your spouse, or assets from some community property asset previously sold -- e.g., home, investment real estate, rental income, stocks, bonds, etc.), then one half of the insurance benefit would be your community property interest. In order to prove this is true, you would have file a lawsuit in Superior Court to set aside the nonprobate transfer of community property assets. This is a fairly routine civil action, but it is not trivial. You would need an attorney with experience in this sort of action. If you need a link to a reputable lawyer referral service, please let me know that my answer is helpful, and I will be happy to provide further information. I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.Thanks again for using justanswer.com!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The policy was in force prior to our divorce. But, after the divorce she changed the beneficiary to her mother. The grandparents have been telling many people that the reason mother was made beneficiary was for the purpose of distributing the money to heirs. Do you say that I may have a claim for some of the money? I was mainly concerned about my adult children and whether they will get the money that was intended to go to them even by the words of the grandparents. You did not address this at all.
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
If the family court did not divide the insurance policies as part of the community property during divorce, then you could ask the probate court to divide the property now as an omitted asset. That would give you the right to one half of the insurance policy value. If the family court divided the insurance policies as part of the community property during divorce, then you would have no claim to those benefits. Concerning children, if the children are adults, then they too have no legal claim to the insurance proceeds. Based upon your additional information, it would appear that the grandparents are entitled to the insurance proceeds, and they can decide what to do with those proceeds, independent of anyone else. I realize that my answer may not be exactly what you were hoping to read. However, under the circumstances, the best that I can do is to explain what the law is and is not, so that you can avoid expending valuable resources looking for answers that do not exist, and concentrate on the options that are actually available.I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.Thanks again for using justanswer.com!