How to collect a deceased beneficiary’s inheritance?

My husband is now deceased but he was alive at the time of his cousin’s death. He is the sole beneficiary of his cousin’s estate. Do I have to open an estate for him to receive the proceeds or can the proceeds come directly to me? Per my husband’s Will, I am the sole beneficiary.

Asked on October 12, 2013 under Estate Planning, Ohio


Nathan Wagner / Law Office of Nathan Wagner

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You may not need to open a probate estate for your husband. Has an estate been opened for the cousin? It may be sufficient to show establish in the cousin's probate case that you are your husband's heir. You could start by contacting the executor of the cousin's estate. You may need to have a probate lawyer represent you and/or open an estate for your husband. 

Also, if you can, look at the cousin's will. Many wills say that a person is a beneficiary only if they live at least 30 days or even 60 days longer than the person making the will. It may not be enough that your husband was alive when his cousin died. 

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