Are life insurance proceeds the sole property of the listed beneficiary?

Must they be split with the deceased’s heirs?

Asked on July 29, 2015 under Insurance Law, California


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, life insurance proceeds are not assets of an estate, therefore they need not be split with heirs of the estate. In other words heirs have no rights to these proceeds; only the listed beneficiary of has the right to them.

Note: If no beneficiary is listed on the policy, then the proceeds are paid into the deceased's estate and are distributed to according the terms of the Will (if there is one) or state law (if there is no Will).

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