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

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

My mother recently passed away. She had 2 life insurance policies. One I was full beneficiary, and the other one half. Her husband was to receive the other half but he died 7 years ago. They sent me a check for the whole amount of both policies. However, now they have called me and said that I have to send a check for half of one of the policies back to them for her deceased husband’s son. Is his son legally entitled to half?

Asked on March 30, 2015 under Insurance Law, Oregon

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  It may not be that he was legally entitled under the law.  Rather it sounds as if he was listed as a contingent beneficary under the policy.  You need to find out who was listed on the beneficary designations and then ask to see the policy.  If there is no contingent beneficary the policy generally provides that the funds go to the estate of the deceased person.  Good luck.


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