Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Aug 12, 2010

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Insurance Question from Cherry Hill, NJ

Asked on 08/12/2010

Pease help! Can the executrix of the estate aquire info on whose names are on the life insurance policy beneficiaries my wife's step dad passed away last month of which he was married to my wife's mom for over 20 years. My wife's mother was the beneficiary of this VA life insurance policy, of which had passed away 3 months prior to the step dad. Unfortunatly they were not so good with there paperwork and there wasn't alot of info to be found. We, including, my wife's sister, who is the executrix of the estate, says there was a contigent or second beneficiary, but can not find out who it is. Isn't the executrix allowed to recieve that info? This was his 3rd marriage and he did have a child in his first marriag

Answer given on August 14, 2010

Beneficiaries of a life insurance policy are exempt from the will, no matter what the will says.  The policy is a legal binding contract and the beneficiary as named, is the beneficiary; nothing can change that.  Same applies for the contingent beneficiary. 

 

That said, anyone in charge of the estate would not necessarily be privy to, or need to know, who is the beneficiary of a life insurance policy for the deceased.  Only the policy owner, the insurance company, the deceased, and the beneficiaries would know who is who.

 

The face that your sister is the executrix of the estate has nothing to do with the life insurance policy, as one has nothing to do with the other.  The only exception would be if he had not named a beneficiary, or any named beneficiary or contingent beneficiary was already deceased as well, and the life insurance proceeds would become part of the estate.  Since that isn’t the case, they are two separate entities, the policy and the estate, and there is no legal right for the executrix to know who recieved the life insurance proceeds. 

 

Hope this helps.


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