Can I legally claim insurance benefits?

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Can I legally claim insurance benefits?

I was named as beneficiary of one of my mother-in-law’s life insurance policies.

After my spouse and I divorced, she didn’t remove me as beneficiary. She had told

me that she never changed anything long before she died. We were close and

remained close until her recent death. Her son, my ex-husband, notified me that

the insurance company sent a claim form in my name. Do I need to retain a lawyer?

I do not feel that I can trust him to be honest in this situation. Do I have a legal right to the benefits? Can he make me sign it over to the funeral home?

Asked on December 24, 2016 under Estate Planning, Tennessee


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, if you are named as the beneficiary of your ex-mother-in-law's life insurance policy, then you are entitled to the proceeds. Your divorce does not affect this. In some states, if you were still listed on your ex-husband's policy that could affect your beneficiary status but such is not the case here since it is your MIL's policy. Also, life insurance proceeds pass outside of a deceased's estate. This means that in your case, your MIL's creditors can make no claim on the life insurance proceeds. In other words, you are not responsible for paying the funeral home. If your ex will not give you the insurance company's claim form or otherwise tries to impede your collecting the proceeds, then you may want to consult direcly with a local attorney.

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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