If a life insurance death benefit is to be split between siblings, can one if them claim a greatershare if they spent more to support the insured parent?

UPDATED: Feb 16, 2011

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If a life insurance death benefit is to be split between siblings, can one if them claim a greatershare if they spent more to support the insured parent?

My sister lived in our hometown, I lived away most of our lives. Our mother had Alzheimers and was in a nursing home for 6 years on Medicaid. She died in December. My sister and I are beneficiaries of mother’s life insurance. We received equal payments from the life insurance, but my sister is claiming she is due a greater percentage because she was power of attorney and put more time and money into caring for mom’s needs, purchasing things, traveling to visit her etc. than I did. We shared equally in paying the life insurance premium. Is she legally entitled to a greater percentage?

Asked on February 16, 2011 under Estate Planning, Indiana


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for your troubles.  Generally speaking, your sister would be entitled to reimbursement from the estate of your Mother for expenses that she paid out on her behalf and for her benefit - maybe - but not to be reimbursed for visiting her, etc.  Now, life insurance policies that have properly executed designation of beneficiary forms, pass what is known as "outside the estate", meaning that they are not included in an estate that is probated.  Given the facts as you have stated here I do not think that your sister would be entitled to any more than her 50% of the policy proceeds. 

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