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I'm sorry to hear about your situation. As a "legal" issue, I suppose technically it is. As a policy that would pay to herself (if there was no beneficiary
or if she was the named beneficiary on the account), it would be part of the "estate". Now if she had a will that designated where the money would go, or a general disposition clause that would dispose of property not otherwise disposed of in the will to some person, then the money would go to that person. Now the executor (if there was a will) or administrator (if there was not a will) would need to be formally named, or at least would need to file a small estates affidavit or summary administration (more could be found here: http://smallestates.uslegal.com/affidavits-and-summary-administration-laws/wisconsin-small-estates-law/)
Now it's not necessarily an issue for you, unless you would stand to receive some of this money by virtue of it passing to the estate. Again, if there was no beneficiary listed or the beneficiary was her, then it would go to the estate, and the legal heirs of the estate would have the claim for the money.
Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!