Do life insurance proceedshave to be declared inan estate settlement?

UPDATED: Aug 29, 2011

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Do life insurance proceedshave to be declared inan estate settlement?

Brother dies leaves 2 sisters and 1 brother; no was other family; he had no Will. Life insurance policy named the brother as sole beneficiary The 2 sisters are not speaking to the brother who received the money. 1 is the executor to the estate. NY attorney has threatened that if he does not disclose the life insurance money the estate will be settled without his knowledge and his portion of the estate will be “frozen”. He has not received any other information regarding the selling of estate assets, etc. The only time the attorney calls is to get the details regarding the life insurance. Can the attorney settle the estate if all 3 siblings are not in agreement?

Asked on August 29, 2011 Massachusetts


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

By Internal Revenue Service regulations life insurance proceeds of a decedent that names a beneficiary under it other than the decedent or his/her trust or will is not an asset that is to be included in the decedent's estate. If your deceased brother's life insurance policy named another brother that survived him as the beneficiary, the surviving brother receives the life insurance proceeds as his own to the exclusion of all others.

From what you have written, there is an administration filed to close your brother's estate filed in the superior court of a given county in New York. The administrator of the estate has to make sure that all beneficiaries must be given notice of all proceedings concerning the estate's administration and needs to file a final proposed distribution of the assets for approval by the court via an order.

The attorney can make the motion to settle the estate even if all the estate's beneficiaries are not in agreement as long as this is what the administrator desires. The court will make the final decision as to whether of not to approve the request for final distribution.

Good luck.

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 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.

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