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Understanding Life Insurance Beneficiaries

White paper with "LIFE INSURANCE POLICY" in bold typeface.  A folded pair of glasses and a pen rest on the paper.
This is a guide about understanding life insurance beneficiaries. Family circumstances change over time and it can be a challenge to follow the directives of a life insurance policy.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
February 18, 2016

Mom and Dad bought insurance policies on us, their 3 sons, and on themselves. On all policies, Mom and Dad were the owners and the beneficiaries.

Dad died 8 years ago and the insurance paid his death benefit. I don't know where that money is today, there is no trace of a deposit in Mom's accounts. My oldest brother was POA then. After dad's death, all these policies are now Mom's.

5 years ago, Mom made me POA, (I am middle son). Last month my oldest brother died suddenly. Mom's policy on my oldest brother paid Mom the death benefit. Again, she is still the owner and listed as the beneficiary.

My brother's widow wants this money, claiming Mom told her she can have it. This was supposedly right after Dad died and when my older brother was still Mom's POA.

Mom's attorney say absolutely, no. The attorney says it is Mom's policy, she owned it, she and Dad paid the premiums, and Mom is listed as the beneficiary. On top of that, he says it would be a gift, and will affect Medicaid eligibility with regard to the 5 year look back. Mom is 92, and I think will need this money for care.

I want to do the right thing. I don't think my brother's widow has a "legal" right to the money. Does anyone think she "deserves" the money?

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Answer Was this helpful? Yes
February 18, 20160 found this helpful

I strongly suggest that you immediately consult with an attorney experienced in estates, insurance, POAs and elder care/abuse in your area. The attorney will address your concerns and take necessary steps to clarify the entire prior and current financial status and protect your mother and her estate. Your brother and his attorney legally must be able to document and support all financial actions from day one and you have a right to demand a full accounting of all financial dealings since your father died. You should expect an emotional response from your brother, however, it is crucially important that your parent's wishes and your mother's estate are protected.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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