Must I reopen probate for a newly discovered life insurance policy?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Must I reopen probate for a newly discovered life insurance policy?

The policy was discovered 8 years after probate was closed by the Chancery court Tenn. Normally, as I understand it, life insurance policies are not part of probate, rather are paid directly to the beneficiary. In this case, there is no beneficiary listed, so the only recipient would be the closed estate. The amount is vey small 2,000 and would likely be quickly consumed by the court and the probate attorney in fees. Can I legally ignore the policy as I was the executor and only beneficiary of the estate?

Asked on December 4, 2018 under Estate Planning, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can ignore the policy. There is no obligation to present claims under an insurance policy: the insured (or in this case, the beneficiary--the estate) is free to make a cost-benefit decision and choose to not claim if it would not be worthwhile.

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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