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Life Insurance only paid partial amount?

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#17
Should we ask our lawyer before we do anything (who has not been very helpful in the past I am afraid
Yes, ask a lawyer. Get another lawyer if you're not happy with this one.

Frankly, I don't see why you can't open probate right now. Seems to me that the guardianship thing is no longer relevant. You don't have to be somebody's guardian to be executor of their estate, especially if nominated in a valid will. If you are dealing with court clerks who are saying this, that, and the other thing, you are probably being misinformed by somebody who barely knows what rubber stamps to use.
 
#18
Is there some reason I have missed that you or your brother don't open probate and get named as executor?
Yes, as far as we understand we cannot move forward until the court approves our final guardianship report. Even though we technically we're only guardians for a matter of days, they must verify that we fulfilled our duties appropriately before we can benefit from his death.

This doesn't apply to life insurance, only his assets.

The truth is though is that we have made mistakes during this process. We like our lawyer, she is a very nice person, but we probably should have dealt with her differently. She neglected our case for months and we finally had to confront her: she admitted that she had done so and that she was more focused in another client. We let our emotional exhaustion take over and decided it would be more of a delay with a greater financial loss to start all over with a new lawyer.

When we started this process we thought we could do a gift and note: he has property upstate New York that has great sentimental value and we wanted to save it. For medicaid we had to liquidate all of his assets, including property, but we were hoping that the gift and note would allow us to keep 25 percent of that: which would just cover the amount needed to buy back the property from him at the court approved value. She promised us the guardianship process would take only 3 months. Instead it took almost a year, 3 months of which were wasted because she didn't file the papers. During that time we had to pay for his care out of pocket with his funds, but which we only had partial access to because we didn't have guardianship- so he was accumulating massive debt and late fees during that time. To give you an idea, the facility alone, basically his rent not his medical care, was over 20 000 a month. Then the woman who was filing our medicaid application who works with the lawyer said she was going on vacation for 2 months and that our application was going to have to remain on hold again. By the time we filed everything there was nothing much left to gift and note, we wouldn't be able to save the property, and he owes more than he had.

Ultimately what I am saying is that while I know my lawyer is competent, she hasn't probed to us that she is focused on our case. And so there have been times when I have made suggestions that seem basic and she has said- oh yes, that is a good idea, that will save you some money- or something. She doesn't respond very quickly at all and she actually originally sent us forms to approve for our court application that had the wrong client name on it and a very bad overall cut and paste job of information w e had sent her months prior over an old client document.

It is possible that she simply is neglecting to tell us information or consider the ramifications of her suggestions within the entire context of the case, but right now what we are being told is that we cannot move forward with the will until the final report is all finished up.

This is all our fault, we allowed it to happen, but we have already paid her about 40,000 in legal fees, and it will probably be closer to 50 once the process is done.

I was able to wheedle information out of the claims department somehow. She confirmed that there are only 3 beneficiaries and that the policy value is correct. She said that the percentages we are aware of are an error, that the policy my father filled out in hand says differently. If that were true, it is in conflict with all of the documentation we have concerning his wishes, and also all of the documentation of the policy, which dates back years, and inclides summaries that he saw and approved of when he was alive and making payments. But it is of course anything is possible.

It seems that we will not be able to confirm this and see the policy until the execution of the will can begin, and that we just have to wait and see. I do feel better knowing that the company is not trying to undercut or deny the full value of the policy, and that even if it was a mistake, my aunt will be the one getting the difference and that the total is the full amount that he paid for.

Perhaps what I should really focus on is figuring out whether or not I should pour energy into determining if the execution of the will actually needs to be delayed or not instead of trusting the 5 word answers from our lawyer at face value.
 
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#19
Yes, ask a lawyer. Get another lawyer if you're not happy with this one.

Frankly, I don't see why you can't open probate right now. Seems to me that the guardianship thing is no longer relevant. You don't have to be somebody's guardian to be executor of their estate, especially if nominated in a valid will. If you are dealing with court clerks who are saying this, that, and the other thing, you are probably being misinformed by somebody who barely knows what rubber stamps to use.
Thank you for this advice, you are leading me to believe that we should pursue this more aggressively. It's hard to see how tired and checked out you really are until someone else gives you some persepctive. I do, more than anything, just want all of this to be over- I would like the probate to be concluded so we can all move on.

We are under the impression that we cannot receive assets until it is show that we did not somehow contribute to his death through neglect or mismanage his finds (ie manage them in a way that serves our benefit as beneficiaries rather than his benefit and preexisting wishes). But I am now wondering if this makes any sense or if our lawyer just isn't considering the ramifications of not getting this done quickly- or prioritizing us. She just keeps telling us to do the report and we will go from there.
 
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Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
#20
...I am now wondering if this makes any sense or if our lawyer just isn't considering the ramifications of not getting this done quickly- or prioritizing us. She just keeps telling us to do the report and we will go from there.
What is the rush? You each (presumably) received about $200,000, if not more.
 
#21
Yes, as far as we understand we cannot move forward until the court approves our final guardianship report. Even though we technically we're only guardians for a matter of days, they must verify that we fulfilled our duties appropriately before we can benefit from his death.
Opening probate and benefiting from his death are two different things. Who told you that you must get the guardianship report approved before you can open probate? If it is the lawyer you have mentioned find a new one.
 
#22
What is the rush? You each (presumably) received about $200,000, if not more.
To be honest it's not primarily about the money, we just want it all to be over. We are worn out and tired of the run around, the lost documents, the lack of answers or transparency. That is where the rush is: we want to go through probate so that we can move on. But that is a separate issue!

My original concern was that the insurance company had made an error and was not making good on their original arrangement. My brother was also concerned that if we cashed the check now and that there was an error, that we wouldn't have grounds to correct that error later. Or that by the time we could get a copy of the report that we would have exceeded the allotted period of time to file a dispute.

A lot of this is residual paranoia and frustration from the ongoing year.

To put it in perspective in terms of the 200k amount, which is astronomical on the face of it- the medical bills, the expenses we have incurred personally: I to quit my full time job and have only been free lancing, had to leave my life here and continue paying for it (rent etc) while also accumulating debt in New York where my father was located and where we no longer have any family residence- we're not coming out of this thing very far ahead. His medical bills amount to 100s of thousands of dollars. We sold his house for more than 150k under value and had to dispose of almost all of his belongings because we were told that if we didn't sell it within a month that it would delay the medicaid application and ultimately cost him more money. There was also the funeral, his other debt and all of that. Now that I know that the life insurance doesn't need to go towards his bills that changes things, but not as significantly as you may think.

I did these things willingly and happily, but it isn't as if I originally thought I would be walking away with 200k when I first posted. I thought it would be going towards getting my life back to where it was before and paying off all of his outstanding bills. If my old self from a year ago read this thread I would have absolutely be at a loss as to why anyone would have any concerns whatsoever if they were receiving 200k. I would have said who cares, 200k is more money than I ever dreamed of! I never would have imagined what this process would have been like or how quickly an I expected Illness would burn through all his assets- and mine- and much much more.

He had insurance after all, he was always so responsible with money. But it was not like that for us. And it turns out that my father was responsible but he also made many mistakes. He was stubborn: with the IRS and workers comp for example, that debt was leftover when he had his own company. He genuinely felt that they were wrong about the debt and has refused to pay for more than a decade.

In terms of the life insurance my emotions have cooled. I know now that they will be paying the full amount that was agreed upon and that it will be going to the same family members he has consistently named as beneficiaries. Obviously the difference in percentage changes things for us financially and it is not what we were expecting based on all of the other documents that we have but I don't feel entitled. And happily we love our aunt so there will be no resentment there.

I'm trying not to be stupid, we will of course verify the papers once we receive them, but it does sound like there isn't anything we can do right now. I'm also wondering how likely it is that they made an error like that- it's all very strange but at the end of the day we will never know what he really truly wanted.

And there is one silver lining: my dad will never know that everything he worked for went down the tubes- (he would have been so upset, he worked his way up from nothing) he was spared thatl.

There are 4 things I got out of this: I signed a DNR for myself even though I am quite young. I appointed power of attorney and health proxy. When I can afford it, I will invest in insurance that covers terminal illness, skilled care and assisted living. And if I have children, I will put money aside in a protected trust and prepay my funeral. That is advice I would give to anyone!
 
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#23
Opening probate and benefiting from his death are two different things. Who told you that you must get the guardianship report approved before you can open probate? If it is the lawyer you have mentioned find a new one.
Yes it was the lawyer. I'm not under the impression she knows for sure, to be honest. I think she isnt sure, hasn't inquired and therefore is covering bases by telling us to wait. But that's a gut feeling not a fact.
 
#24
To be honest it's not primarily about the money, we just want it all to be over. We are worn out and tired of the run around, the lost documents, the lack of answers or transparenncy. But thats a separate issue!
The only way the is is going to "all be over" is to get the estate into probate. Every day you wait is likely another day on the far end.

Yes it was the lawyer. I'm not under the impression she knows for sure, to be honest. I think she isnt sure, hasn't inquired and therefore is covering bases by telling us to wait. But that's a gut feeling not a fact.
The lawyer works for you and/or the estate. If she doesn't know the answer to a question you need to make sure she gets the answer.
 
#25
The only way the is is going to "all be over" is to get the estate into probate. Every day you wait is likely another day on the far end.
Yes, exactly!

The lawyer works for you and/or the estate. If she doesn't know the answer to a question you need to make sure she gets the answer.[/QUOTE said:
Yes, you are right. It's just a feeling I have about her, but now I will pursue a definitive conclusion more aggressively! I will make sure she explains exactly why she is advising us to wait until after January.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to my story: I didn't intend to write so much and I didn't realize I had until I looked back.
 
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#26
Having someone open up probate and receive letters testamentary will be a great first step in getting information from the insurance company, but even then they will probably continue to stonewall.

Your cashing the check will not affect your ability later on to request additional funds you and the other beneficiaries may be entitled to.

The attorney you have now does not have experience dealing with insurance companies.

If I were you, I would be consulting with an attorney whose specialty is insurance interpleader cases and/or who has experience in suing insurance companies to get them to do the right thing.
 
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