What will happen to her share and can the estate be settled??

Estranged sister will not claim her benefit from deceased father’s life
insurance. The company will not give it to the estate.

Asked on February 27, 2019 under Estate Planning, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

The problem is that this money is being sent her not as part of the estate but pursuant to a contract--the insurance policy. The insurer has no right or authority to send the money to anyone other than the person listed as beneficiary. She could endorse the check over to the estate, but she has to do this--the insurer cannot change the terms of the contract/policy to send the money directly to anyone or anything not listed as a beneficiary. If you cannot get her to accept payment but endorse it over to estate (or directly to another person) you may be unable to get the money.
Of course, since no one but her has any "right" to the money anyway--agains, it's something due specifically to her only, not to the estate or other heirs--you can just forget about this money and probate the estate without it; you are no worse off doing that than if she had accepted the money.

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