What happens if a beneficiary of life insurance policy dies before the insured?

UPDATED: Jul 18, 2010

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What happens if a beneficiary of life insurance policy dies before the insured?

My father died leaving 2 life insurane policies, 1 for me for $2000; 1for my mother for $1000. But since she was already dead, who collects hers?

Asked on July 18, 2010 under Insurance Law, Arkansas


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Your Mother's insurance policy would be payable to her estate.  It sounds as if t=you did not have a probate for her estate when she passed (maybe everything passed to your Dad automatically?).  And it seems silly to have to file a probate for the insurance policy only but you may have to.  Some states allow you to fie a Small Estate affidavit instead of filing a small estate.  You should check with the Probate Court in the county in which your mother resided at the time of her death. although the clerks can not give you legal advice they can guide you and give you forms to fill out.  Good luck.

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