Are the proceeds of a life insurance policy subject to the terms of distrbutionunder a Will?

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Are the proceeds of a life insurance policy subject to the terms of distrbutionunder a Will?

Will says my mom “Gives, devises and bequeaths all of my property real and personal tangible and intangible and all policies and proceeds of insurance covering such property to my 5 children to be equal shares”. Does that mean they have to share with us?

Asked on September 13, 2010 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

People who are designated beneficiaries of a life insurance policy are under no duty to split the proceeds with anyone.; regardless of what the terms of a Will provide. The insurance document is the controlling legal instrument here.  The reason is that these proceeds pass outside of a deceased's estate.  And heirs are only entitled to items that are part of the estate. Since a life insurance policy with a designated beneficiary is not one of them, it would pass directly to the designated life insurance beneficiary and as their sole and separate property.


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