If my father-in-law passed away and had an insurance policy that listed the beneficiary as his deceased wife, who is now the legal beneficiary?

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If my father-in-law passed away and had an insurance policy that listed the beneficiary as his deceased wife, who is now the legal beneficiary?

His deceased wife had a daughter. My husband and his brother are afraid this money will go to their stepmother’s daughter. I say that since she preceded him in death the money goes into the estate and is disbursed to the living survivors of my father-in-law. Can you tell me what the law states?

Asked on October 20, 2011 under Estate Planning, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You are correct. While a primary beneficiary is entitled to the proceeds of the policy upon the death of the insured, such rights expire if they predecease the insured. Consequently, the general rule is that the proceeds would be paid to the insured's beneficiaries (if they had a Will) or their heirs (if they had no Will).

Since you did not mention Will, I will assume that here was none. Therefore, in this situation, your husband and his brother are the legal hairs and consequently are entitle to the insurance proceeds.

 For the exact terms of distribution you should consult an attorney in your area.


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