Are life insurance proceeds part of deceased’s estate if they are payable to a person?

My mother passed away this past January. I was beneficiary of 3 life insurance policies. I paid her funeral expenses out of the proceeds and the estate attorney then told me that the remaining approx. 11,000 life insurance proceeds were part of my mom’s estate and made me deposit the proceeds into the estate checking account. I was under the impression that life insurance policies were paid to the person designated and the proceeds were theirs, not the estate’s.

Asked on September 4, 2016 under Estate Planning, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You are correct, not the attorney: if you were the designated beneficiary, the proceeds from the policy are *not* part of your mother's estate. Only policies made out to the estate or with no designated beneficiary or where the designated beneficiary passed away previously (without some living back-up beneficiary also being designated) become part of the estate.

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