If my grandmother died intestate and the beneficiary of her life insurance policy was my deceased grandfather, how do the heirscollect?

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If my grandmother died intestate and the beneficiary of her life insurance policy was my deceased grandfather, how do the heirscollect?

Basically, my deceased grandfather was the beneficiary of my grandmother’s insurance policy. The insurance company will not give any details to the next of kin. My grandmother died without assets, so there will be no estate. However, the insurance company is claiming that they’ll need a certification of the probate court. How can the next of kin collect on the insurance policy so they can pay the funeral bill? They are the next in line through intestate succession.

Asked on February 9, 2011 under Estate Planning, Indiana

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Insurance policies, bank account beneficiaries, trust accounts, property in joint tenancy or joint tenancy with a right of survivorship fall outside of the probate process usually.  If your grandmother intestate or otherwise and the beneficiary of her life insurance was your grandfather, then your grandfather took that policy free of the probate process.  Since he died prior to your grandmother (he pre-deceased her), that beneficiary status fails.  If it fails, any proceeds then go to the probate process and that means it is then distributed to the next heir.  If your grandmother had any children, it should actually go to her children, to be divided equally through the probate process. So whomever are the children or is the child, the children can then file in probate court to appoint an administrator. Once that occurs, the process should be pretty simple to file the certificate with the insurance company and then collect the proceeds. 


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