Pre-deceased life insurance beneficiary – no contingent beneficiaries named. Deceased dies intestate. What are the rules of distribution?

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Pre-deceased life insurance beneficiary – no contingent beneficiaries named. Deceased dies intestate. What are the rules of distribution?

Asked on June 20, 2009 under Estate Planning, Kentucky

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I'm not clear as to your facts.  It appears that the primary beneficiary died before the insured and no contingent beneficiary was named. 

If that is the case, while a primary beneficiary is entitled to the proceeds of the policy upon the death of the insured, such rights expire if he or she predeceases the insured.  Under those circumstances, absent state law to the contrary, the general rule is that the proceeds would be paid to the insured's heirs.  Since there was no will (that is the insured died "intestate") than the proceeds would be payable pursuant to the intestacy statute of the state where the insured resided at the time of their death.  Generally, that means to the wife and children.

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

 


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