What to do if my father died but did not designate a beneficiary on his insurance policy?

My father died and was divorced. His old insurance policy at work was to his-ex wife, his second wife. Anyway, he did not put who he was leaving the insurance money to, so now they are saying that since she was last on it then she is the one who will get it. She is in a nursing home and he could not stand her. Also, if she gets the money my stepsister, who I can’t stand, will just take it from her because she is the executor of her mother’s estate. I am not the executor to my father’s estate but I have the documents to go and do it if need be. I am wondering how I can make sure his ex-wife does not receive this money?

Asked on September 13, 2017 under Insurance Law, New Jersey


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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

In NJ, a divorce generally revokes the beneficiary designation of an ex-spouse, unless rovided otherwise in the decree. Therefore, even though the life insurance policy has your father's ex-wife listed as beneficiary, she cannot receive the benefit. Since no other beneficiaries were listed, the proceeds from the policy will be become payable to his estate.

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