Can I fight my mother against my brother’s life insurance?

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Can I fight my mother against my brother’s life insurance?

My brother has recently passed from pancreatic cancer and we found out he had a life insurance policy through his workplace. Going through the policy he named no beneficiaries but told me I

was the only person who would get anything of his. Our mother, which has not been here for more than 30 years, is stating she would only come to the US to receive her son’s fortune. She was never in our lives and I can prove that she didn’t come before he passed when she knew he had cancer, nor did she come to even give her final goodbyes at his funeral. She did not help with any of the costs for his funeral and we have many of his close friends who can provide evidence that

she never intended to see him nor cares about him. The life insurance policy states that his estate would be entitled half to our mother and half to me or so I am led to believe. Is there any way I could dispute that she shouldn’t receive this money?

Asked on March 27, 2019 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you can't dispute this. The law doesn't care about the nature or quality of her relationship with him: that is irrelevant to the rules for who inherits when there is no will. And your brother's statement that you would inherit is also irrelevant--it has no legally binding effect. Only the designation of you as his life insurance beneficiary or a will leaving everything to you would ensure that you were the only one who received the insurance money.
When there is no beneficiary designated, the laws says the life insurance money must go to the estate--the insurance company has no power or legal authority to do anything other than that.
And if it goes to his estate when he had no will, it will distributed according to the rules for "intestate succession" (who inherits when there is no will). In your state (FL), it appears unfortunately that when there is a surviving parent and sibling, but no spouse or descendents (e.g. children), the parent receives everything: so likely, your mother will get the entire amount, unfair or not. 
If your brother wanted you to inherit, he should have made you the beneficiary or else had a will.


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