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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 37830
Experience:  16 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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Well it is a story but here goes -- my mom had passed away

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Well it is a long story but here goes -- my mom had passed away and she had a will and a life insurance policy -- the beneficiary was my brother Lee who died last year -- apparently mom had no other beneficiaries and so the life insurance policy defaulted to the state -- this is the first time I have heard of this happening -- mom had a will and it is clearly stated that her life insurance money was to be divided equally among her children
JA: Since estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Washington
JA: What documents or supporting evidence do you have?
Customer: Well I tried to get a copy of my mom's will and her life insurance policy and the lawyer is out of town until the 24th. They filed for reimbursement for paying estate's creditors, funeral/burial administration and declaration of Scott Friedman Attorney Fees and I just received these yesterday I picked them up from my daughter the court date is October 27
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I feel that the lawyer and my niece is milking this life insurance $25,000 for every cent they can get. I use to sell life insurance policy and I don't remember learning anything about this loop hole and I think clients and customers should be told this the lawyer didn't even mention it to my mom that she should change her beneficiary. Our we basically screwed? The wonderful thing about life insurance is that it does not go to the estate and you don't have to pay taxes. Now this is going to the estate and there are four people who were expecting a nice amount of money now they may not get anything.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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Was brother the only named beneficiary of the insurance policy?

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Did he have any children or spouse?

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Did the insurance policy state that if he predeceased mother, then the money would go into her estate?

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Are you saying that the niece, who is the daughter of the deceased brother, is claiming the $25K?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
That is a good question we don't have a copy of the life insurance policy we know mom had bought it through AARP. No my sister's daughter Alisha (niece) who took mom to see the lawyer and they had three forms filed out she was named as mom's administrator in the will and also ironical her power of attorney. Apparently mom said Alisha's work would pay for the lawyer and so that's why mom had her as power of attorney and administrator. She told my daughter she did get reimbursed from her work for lawyer fees and yet she is claiming lawyer fees for the estate to pay her and the lawyer also is claiming $10,000 for fees. We tried to get a copy of her life insurance policy today (my niece I believe didn't want me to get a copy of this filing and that's why she had it sent to my daughter. In the will it states that the proceeds of her life insurance policy is to be divided up equally amongst her children and she listed our names. She also mentioned my brother's name and stated he was deceased. I would think that is a legal document and so why did the life insurance go to the estate?

Ok, the way insurance policies work is that they are paid to the named beneficiary only. They aren't normally considered an asset of the estate so the will doesn't control the disposition of the money.

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If the beneficiary is deceased, then the money goes to their estate unless the policy owner stated that their gift lapses if the beneficiary is deceased.

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If there was a survivorship clause in the insurance policy, then since brother passed, the money would then go to the estate and would be controlled by the will.

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But otherwise, it would go to the heirs of brother's estate.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thanks appreciate your answer. I'm going to write a blog to inform other people about the importance of having more than one beneficiary on their life insurance just in care one of their beneficiaries dies. Glad this is finally over and I feel sorry for my other siblings who were expecting $5,000 instead of if they are lucky $2,100. I believe they'll be taking taxes out for the $25,000. The whole idea of a life insurance is so the heirs have this money free and clear and it is not part of the estate!

You are very welcome. Happy to help any time, even though the news was kind of lousy...

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If you feel your original question and any related follow ups have been answered, I would very much appreciate a positive rating on the answer I have provided as that is the only way I receive credit for my work. If you have a new question the JustAnswer folks require that you start a new question page, but you can request me by putting "For Barrister" in the caption and they will get it to me.

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thanks much

Barrister

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Yeah it wasn't what we expected but they'll be some money -- it's my mom who kinda screwed everyone over and the lift insurance folks for not telling her to list another beneficiary in case one died. Definitely will leave you a positive remark. Thanks for clarifying the information.

You are very welcome. At least with this outcome, all the heirs share in the proceeds rather than just one person, even if it is smaller amounts...

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Have a great day!

Barrister

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