Is a wife entitled to her late husband’s life insurance proceeds, IRA, 401k, etc.?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is a wife entitled to her late husband’s life insurance proceeds, IRA, 401k, etc.?

My husband and I married this year. After we married, we were going to change the beneficiaries of our life insurance, 401K, IRA, etc. to each other. ong story short, we did not, and he passed away. His mother and father (who died years ago) are the beneficiaries of his life insurance, which he purchased 26 years ago. His mother had no idea he had life insurance or that she was the beneficiary. She has said that she is going to gift it to me, so that it will not go into his estate (he also had no Will). What happens if she changes her mind? What legal rights do I have?

Asked on September 16, 2013 under Estate Planning, Georgia

Answers:

Nathan Wagner / Law Office of Nathan Wagner

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

As the beneficiary, your mother-in-law does not have to give you the insurance proceeds or retirement accounts. She can give them to you, of course, but you probably cannot force her. However, if your husband's estate has to pay federal estate tax (because his estate is worth more than $5.25 million), she may have to contribute to the payment of that tax, even if she tries to keep those assets.

Nathan Wagner / Law Office of Nathan Wagner

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

As the beneficiary, your mother-in-law does not have to give you the insurance proceeds or retirement accounts. She can give them to you, of course, but you probably cannot force her. However, if your husband's estate has to pay federal estate tax (because his estate is worth more than $5.25 million), she may have to contribute to the payment of that tax, even if she tries to keep those assets.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption