What to do if my mom passed away 9 months ago and my stepdad got her insurance money?

UPDATED: Mar 20, 2013

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What to do if my mom passed away 9 months ago and my stepdad got her insurance money?

He cashed the check and put it in the bank with his sister’s name on the account. He then passed away. Am I allowed to get my mom’s money from her life insurance? Also, I’ve lived in the house since I was born and my mom put my stepdad on the house and bow his sister wants a bunch of stuff I bought my mom and my wife. Do I get what I want from my mom; there is no Will? Her whole family new she wanted me to have the stuff we bought her.

Asked on March 20, 2013 under Estate Planning, Ohio


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Here is the issue. Your mom did not consider changing her insurance policy because she made your stepfather the beneficiary and that goes with or without a will. So you are not entitled to the insurance policy at all. As to the home and everything else, if your mother passed away and your stepfather was on the deed as joint tenants with right of survivorship, he gets it free and clear. Again with or without a will. If the house was held as tenants in common, then you need to open probate to push for your share of the home (half). As for the belongings, you need to understand those go the way of probate law. If there is no will, I would have the court open probate, hire an independent administrator, and petition for what you wish from the home.

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