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Niece claims Life insurance is not part of estate or will.

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falseaccuses

Junior Member
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? NJ/PA (mother and niece live in pa, me NJ)

15 years ago my niece moved in with my mother and bought her house. She set up a burial fund for my mother and my mother named her as the beneficiary on two small life insurance polices, 4k total. a few years into the arrangement my mother was put in a nursing home, a few years later, my niece sold the house and split the proceeds of the sale with my mother after she got divorced and was going through a bad time so she said she didn't feel able to handle my mothers issues any longer and asked me to be the power of attorney. My mother died a few weeks ago so I contacted my niece and asked her about the policies. She said that legally she has no obligation to give it to anyone but morally she probably will do something which includes the family.

So I asked her what she was going to do with the money since my mothers will leaves 1,000 to each of her 3 children and I only had 2000 left after paying all the expenses. She rudely responded that the will means nothing and that the policy she has is exempt from the will.

She said that she was going to rent a shore house during the week of my mothers birthday and throw a party in honor of my mother and that she has no obligation to give me a thing from that policy. I do not want to go to a party as we even had separate interment after the burial. How likely would I be able to contest the policy. My mother had a will that says all 3 of her children would receive 1000 each but my niece is claiming that a will does not mean I get to control the life insurance.. so what is the purpose of a will if other people can just be put on a life insurance policy.
 


justalayman

Senior Member
She is correct. An insurance policy with a beneficiary other than the estate is not part of the probate estate. It is her money to do with as she pleases.

A will controls the distribution of the assets of the decedent. The insurance benefits never were an asset of the decedent.
 

falseaccuses

Junior Member
She is correct. An insurance policy with a beneficiary other than the estate is not part of the probate estate. It is her money to do with as she pleases.

A will controls the distribution of the assets of the decedent. The insurance benefits never were an asset of the decedent.
That is very unfortunate, I do not believe my mother realized what she was doing at the time. My mother assumed that she would be taking care of all the arrangements. I am assuming since it was done over 15 years ago there is no way to contest it now.
 

justalayman

Senior Member
That is very unfortunate, I do not believe my mother realized what she was doing at the time. My mother assumed that she would be taking care of all the arrangements. I am assuming since it was done over 15 years ago there is no way to contest it now.
It wouldn't matter if it was done yesterday. Unless you can show something improper regarding naming the niece, you would not be successful in contesting the beneficiary designation. You haven't provided anything that would suggest there was anything improper naming the niece as beneficiary.
 

adjusterjack

Senior Member
That is very unfortunate, I do not believe my mother realized what she was doing at the time. My mother assumed that she would be taking care of all the arrangements. I am assuming since it was done over 15 years ago there is no way to contest it now.
You wouldn't be able to contest it now even if your mother took out the policies 15 minutes before she died as long as she was of sound mind.

The $2000 you have left after all is said and done gets split 3 ways between you and your two siblings.
 

falseaccuses

Junior Member
It wouldn't matter if it was done yesterday. Unless you can show something improper regarding naming the niece, you would not be successful in contesting the beneficiary designation. You haven't provided anything that would suggest there was anything improper naming the niece as beneficiary.[/QUOT

my mother had bad handwriting. I found documents in her files where my niece filled out forms for her but then just had my mother sign them. It is possible my mother had no idea what she was signing.
 

justalayman

Senior Member
It wouldn't matter if it was done yesterday. Unless you can show something improper regarding naming the niece, you would not be successful in contesting the beneficiary designation. You haven't provided anything that would suggest there was anything improper naming the niece as beneficiary.[/QUOT

my mother had bad handwriting. I found documents in her files where my niece filled out forms for her but then just had my mother sign them. It is possible my mother had no idea what she was signing.
And it's possible she did.

Bottom line; the money belongs to the niece and she has no obligation to share it with anybody
 

Dandy Don

Senior Member
If you found a form that changed a beneficiary designation from someone else that changes it to the niece's name, then it would still be difficult to prove that it was not your mother's intention to make the change unless you somehow also determined that the signature was forged. It would probably not be worth it in attorney fees to challenge this.

It appears that your mother may have wrongly assumed that the money was part of her estate and she may not have realized that if she named a particular beneficiary or beneficiaries, that the money would be paid directly to the beneficiaries.
It is a mistake that happens quite frequently.
 

NIV

Member
I agree with the general sense of the others as well. My only concern is that when beneficiary information is changed at the end of an isolated life to a caretaker, the alarm bell of undue influence starts ringing. That alone would not overcome the beneficiary designation. But here, even if there were additional facts supporting such a claim, no one would really litigate this over such a small amount.
 

falseaccuses

Junior Member
I agree with the general sense of the others as well. My only concern is that when beneficiary information is changed at the end of an isolated life to a caretaker, the alarm bell of undue influence starts ringing. That alone would not overcome the beneficiary designation. But here, even if there were additional facts supporting such a claim, no one would really litigate this over such a small amount.
There was 15 years between the change of beneficiary and the insured's death. after reconsideration, I will not contest the issue.
 
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