Can a father leave all of his insurance money to a child if he is married?

My father left all his insurance to me. My mother would like to know if that is against the lw as she is his legal wife. If it is illegal how do we switch it over to her?

Asked on July 27, 2010 under Insurance Law, New Hampshire


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your loss.  Insurance proceeds are known to "pass outside the estate" of a person.  That means that a person can designate any beneficiary that they wish and that the money will be payable on the death of the insured to the beneficiary without it having to go through probate.  It is money not counted in the estate. No, it is not illegal.  A wife has what is known as a "right of election" in most states against an estate if they are in some way left less than they are required by law to receive in the Will.  If your mother received a house and bank accounts, etc., then she probably got what the law requires.  If she has any other concerns then she should speak with a lawyer in your area about it.  Good luck.

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