If my mother passed and had a insurance policy of which my sister was the beneficiary, once the outstanding bills of the estate are paid off do all remaining funds and assets go to that 1 sibling?

My sister made verbal agreements in the hospital about how the assets were to be distributed and how money would be split equally. Due to an argument over the remains, things have changed.

Asked on January 13, 2019 under Estate Planning, New Jersey


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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Insurance proceeds are not part of an estate, so they cannot be taken to pay bills of the estate. Additionaly, all proceeds are payable to the person listed as the beneficiary on the policy and no one else.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If the beneficiary was your sister, all the money goes to her--period. It is not estate money and does not have to be used for estate bills. The insurer pays the named beneficiary directly--it must pay the named beneficiary, and has no power to pay anyone else0--and the estate has not claims on the money. Your sister could choose to voluntarily pay the estate's bills or gift some of the money to others, but that is wholly voluntary on her part--legally, the money is all hers.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.