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Rights of a Beneficiary

Beneficiaries are the recipients of assets from a deceased person's will. Beneficiaries are allowed certain rights regarding the estate and the assets that were assigned to them. However, the rights of a beneficiary are only applied to the items that were appointed by the will and those rights may sometimes be limited. To learn more about the rights of a beneficiary, take a look at the more commonly asked questions below that have been answered by Experts.

My father divorced his wife 3 years ago. He died this year and still had the ex-wife as his beneficiary on retirement and life insurance policies. Would the ex be entitled to these policies?

There is a very good possibility that your father's ex-wife will be able to collect on the life insurance policy. If your father didn't change the policy beneficiary, the insurance company will pay out to the name listed on the insurance policy. The only way to keep this from happening is if you begin legal action to prevent the insurance company from releasing the money to the ex-wife.

If you choose to begin legal action, you may have a weak case. Your only argument would be that your father's ex-wife shouldn't be allowed to collect on the insurance policy due to a lack of insurable interest. If you use this argument, the court will have to decide if the policy should pay out to the ex-wife or deem the policy void. If the insurance company has already paid out on the policy, the court will order that the money be returned. In order to use the argument of no insurable interest, you will have to show there was no interaction between your father and his ex-wife (legal or social).

I was the beneficiary of a life insurance policy. My cousin claims the deceased wanted me to share the money with him. I refused and now he is suing me for 100,000. His lawyer wants a financial disclosure from me. Do I have to comply?

In cases like this, it is hard for a person to prove the deceased wanted him/her to have money if there was nothing mentioned. However, it is equally hard for you to prove that the deceased didn't want your cousin to have a portion of the money. The fact that you were named beneficiary may not be enough to clarify that you were the only person to receive money. It may be possible that your cousin's attorney has found a loophole that may hold up in court. You should hire an attorney to assist you with this situation. If your cousin's attorney has filed the lawsuit, he has the right to discovery which in this case may include a financial statement. If the financial statement doesn't relate to the lawsuit, you would have reason to object to the attorney's request due to irrelevance to the case.

What are my rights as a beneficiary? I feel the trustee has performed gross Negligence.

If the trustee has acted out in a manner that has affected your assets in the trust, you may be able to have the court remove the trustee. You would have to petition the court in order to get the process started. Once you petition the court, a conservator will probably be placed in charge of the trust until the situation can be settled. Before the court will remove the trustee from their position, the court will look into your allegations and determine whether or not the trustee has in fact committed these acts. If the court finds the trustee responsible of the allegations, a new trustee will be named to oversee the trust. You will need to show the court how the trustee is mishandling the trust to ensure he/she will be replaced with a new trustee.

Can I sue the beneficiary of my mother's estate for pain and suffering from defamation and alienation of affection the beneficiary caused, which resulted in my being expressly deleted from the will? I live in Ohio.

Ohio only recognizes alienation of affection when the term pertains to parents and their relationship with their children. If your intention is to gain from a will based on defamation, you will need to show that your mother's will is invalid. In order to make this claim, you will have the burden of proof to show your mother was in some way coerced or didn't have the mental stability to make the will. If you can prove there was defamation, you will still have to show that the defamation was the main reason for being omitted from your mother's will. This doesn't mean you will be added to your mother's will. However, you would be given the chance to enter a judgment for the amount that is determined by the court.

The rights of a beneficiary are not always printed out in black and white. Many times a beneficiary is unsure of his/her rights and many questions arise. When you have questions about your rights as a beneficiary, you should ask an Expert for experienced assistance that provides clarity to your individual needs.
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