After a beneficiary relinquishes their rights can they change their minds?

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After a beneficiary relinquishes their rights can they change their minds?

My mother in law recently passed away. When going through the will the house and property was left to my sister in law and everything else would be split 50/50 between my husband and sister in law. The executor of the will and my sister in law both said that is was my mother in laws wishes that the life insurance money go to my husband. So my sister in law signed a letter stating that she relinquishes all rights to the life insurance and recognizes my husband as the rightful beneficiary. Now she is refusing to sign the waiver from the insurance company because she wants the money and she told us to take her to court. Can she now change her mind and get half the money?

Asked on November 1, 2019 under Estate Planning, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

The letter she signed may have expressed her thinking or intention then, but it was not a legally binding contract (since she did not receive anything of value--any "consideration" as the law terms it--in exchange for offering to give up her rights) and also was not the official waiver from the insurance company Therefore, the letter had no legal effect and is not binding on her; she could legally change her mind and choose to receive/keep the money.


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