Do I have rights to money that my mom might have been owed before her death?

My maternal grandmother passed and my mom passed 3 wks after.I have no idea if my grandmother had an insurance policy or a will that has my mom as beneficiary,I don’t trust what her siblings response might be so is there any way I can find out without asking them and if so am I entitled to whatever her inheritance would have been?

Asked on December 12, 2017 under Estate Planning, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Because you mother died *after* your grandmother, you would normally inherit anything your mother would have inherited from your grandmother unless there is some provision in a will to the contrary (i.e. a will could say, for example, "if any of my daughters does not survive me by at least a month, she and her heir(s) shall not inherit"--it is legal to put a "survival requirement" into a will) or if the life insurance policy (if there was one) directed the benefits in the event of your mother's death to go to someone else (insurance policies can direct the benefits to whomever the insured want). Therefore, while you don't knowfor a fact that you would inherit or even if there is anything to inherit, there is at least a reasonable chance that that you would.
Unfortunately, there is no good way to find out: unless you bring a legal action, no one has any obligation or duty to disclose information to you. All you can do is contact the probate court, find out if any will is being probated, or if an intestate estate (for when there is no will) has been opened and, if so, file a legal objection to it, on the basis that as the child of a child of the deceased, where said child of the deceased passed away after the deceased, you believe you are entitled to a share of the inheritance. A lawyer would be very helpful in doing this (this is not a simple legal action; it would difficult for a non-lawyer), so if you are unwilling to risk the cost of a lawyer on exploring this matter, you may be best off dropping the matter unless someone does voluntarily come forward with information for you.


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