Are life insurance proceeds part of an estate?

The policy holder has a $120,000 policy. Since he passed, the spouse is having him cremated and no service ($620). Does the policy holder’s children have any legal hold on receiving any of the money? No Will was signed.

Asked on July 27, 2015 under Estate Planning, Oklahoma


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Life insurance proceeds are not part of an estate. Therefore, heirs have no rights to them. The person who has the sole rights to such proceeds is the designated beneficiary listed on the policy.

Note: If no beneficiaries are listed (unlikely), then the proceeds are paid into the deceased's estate and then distributed to either the terms of their Will or, if there is no Will, state law. 

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