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Changing beneficiaries after person dies

Discussion in 'Life Insurance, Annuities & Other' started by mshfarb, Jun 1, 2015.

  1. mshfarb

    mshfarb Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello, I'm the executor of my late mother in law's estate. She passed away on april 22 of this yr. I have her last will and testament which was put together by a law firm she used about 3 yrs ago. It's very clear about how the estate is to be dispensed and I'm following up on her wishes of course. My question concerns her government life insurance policy that she took when she started there over 40 yrs ago. When she retired in 2002 she listed her beneficiaries which included her husband who passed away before her as did her only child a few years earlier. My son is her only grandchild so she left him 50% and her car. Her will is her most recent and accurate administration of her wishes of how much and who should receive any monies from her estate. The office of personnel and management informed me that they only recognize her list of beneficiaries she put in her life insurance and not the more recent will. They said they will dispense accordingly unless they have an order from the court that says otherwise. How do i go about obtaining this and is it difficult? I'm not talking about a lot of money because she only had the basic option with the government insurance which i think is through met life. I just want her life insurance to be adjusted to reflect her last will and testament which was dictated by her 10 yrs after his list for met life. This doesn't change things that much and wouldn't exclude anyone but her boyfriend and I are listed in the will since her husband has passed away he's not listed in the will but in the life insurance so I'm trying to have a judge rule that the insurance list of beneficiaries reflect the last will and testament which will add some to my son and her boyfriend of 9 yrs and myself. Can you advise? ?

    Thanks,
    Mike H.
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    A will and those named as heirs in the will have no relationship to the beneficiaries named on a life insurance policy.

    According to your representations, the deceased named her husband and her only issue to equally share and receive 50% of the life insurance proceeds.

    Unfortunately, her husband predeceased her, as did her only issue.

    Now she has passed, and the surviving relatives of her husband are entitled to his 50%, as are the surviving relatives of her only issue.

    You can discuss the matter with a couple of local estate and trusts attorneys to see if this is worth pursuing in your county.
    Normally such a proceeding is very costly, lengthy, and contentious.
    I've seen efforts at contesting the beneficiaries of life insurance policies twice in my practice of the law.
    Both efforts failed.
    I had no hand in either case, but had occasion to speak with the attorneys involved.
    One policy was for $1,000,000 and the other for $5,000,000.
    After you've spoken to the lawyers, you'll have better handle on what to do.
    Normally, the initial consultation is offered at no charge.

    I can only add, that I don't know of anyway one could successfully interfere with the fiduciary duty of the insurance company to pay the named beneficiaries, or their heirs.
    The life insurance policy is a contract between the insured, their insurer for benefit of the insured's named beneficiaries.
    I know of no way that fiduciary duty can be broken, but if the insurer advised differently, go for it, if you desire.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
  3. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    Life ins. passes outside the estate (has nothing to do with the will) & goes to the bene/benes named in the policy. If none are living, proceeds would be dispensed in this case how the policy provisions say they will be. All policies do not have the same policy provisions.
     
    army judge likes this.
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    So true, all policies don't have the same terms or provisions (in insurance speak).
     

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