What if the beneficiary on the life insurance policy is also deceased?

My mother-in-law passed away. The beneficiary on her life insurance policy was her husband who passed away 8 years ago. The check came in the mail made out to him. How do we go about cashing it? Who does it belong to? There are three children in the family. My mother-in-law will not have enough money to pay all of her bills. Will this money have to go towards that?

Asked on May 30, 2009 under Insurance Law, Minnesota

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, I'm afraid that the money will have to go to her creditors.  I'm not a Minnesota lawyer, but I doubt that the law of your state is different enough to change the result.  If the beneficiary of a life insurance policy dies before the insured, and no new beneficiary is named, the money goes into the estate of the insured -- your mother-in-law.  Whoever is the executor or personal representative of your mother's estate should get a certified copy of her husband's death certificate, and mail that back to the insurance company with the check, asking that it be re-issued to the estate.

For more information, including discussion of any additional facts that you haven't included in the question, you should talk to a wills and estates lawyer in your area.  One place to look for an attorney is our website, http://attorneypages.com


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