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My ex husband, who worked for HEB in Houston died on the 12th I believe. He was very close with his daughter from his 1st marriage, but not with my daughter. He still owed approx 9k in child support. My question is, If he had life insurance or a 401k through HEB and he left it all to his 1st daughter, is there anything that can be done to ensure my daughter gets her half?
Asked on June 15, 2018 under Estate Planning, Texas
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 4 years ago | Contributor
1) Your daughter has no right to the life insurance if it was left to his other daughter: in that case, the other daughter was the beneficiary, the money is *hers* and was never your ex-husband's: it did not become part of or pass through his estate.
2) Similarly, if the 401(k) had the other daughter designated as a beneficiary for it go to her on his death, it goes directly to her, not through his estate, and your daughter has no claim on it.
3) Your daughter (or you for her, if she is a minor) can sue his estate for the child support debt and potentially recover from other assets (e.g. bank accounts; real estate) he left behind--that is, from things which are part of or which do pass through his estate: e.g. anything that would be distributed as per his will, if he had a will. But for $9k, it is not 100% clear that the effort and cost of the lawsuit would be worthwhile: suing an estate can be complex and you'd most likely need to hire an attorney.
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