What are my step-daughters entitled to now that there father has died?

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What are my step-daughters entitled to now that there father has died?

My husband passed away last month. I just found out that his grown daughters havea policy from his last job back in the 70’s. It is supposed to has their name on it. We were married for 38 years before he died at the age of 80. Do his daughters has the right to take everything we built together and claim his policy? I had not seen it; just going by their words.

Asked on November 7, 2010 under Estate Planning, Wisconsin

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  What probably happened is that your Husband designated them as beneficiaries on his policy long ago and forgot about it.  He never changed the form to you or maybe it is possible that he wished that they have that policy as part of their inheritance. The part of your question that worries me is the statement "do they have the right to take everything we built together?"  I am paraphrasing.  No, they do not have that right.  Anything jointly owned is your upon his death. Are you saying that the policy is the ONLY thing that comprises his estate? Then I would suggest that you seek help from an attorney in your area.  Was there a Will? Wives have what is known as a right of election against a Will.  Is there no Will?  Then you receive a portion under intestacy statutes in your state of all assets not jointly owned. But that does not mean that the designation on the policy is invalid.  What you will have to do is to write to the insurance company that holds the policy and place and "adverse claim" against the proceeds and request that the  company interplead the funds in to Court.  Good luck.


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