Do we have to hire an attorney if the beneficiary of an estate does not follow the will? 9 Answers as of May 09, 2011

My father just died and my brother is beneficiary of his life insurance policies and apparently there is not a complete will. As far as I can remember their assets were to be divided 3 ways, will we have to obtain a lawyer for this to transpire if the brother doesn’t divide accordingly? Or does the beneficiary override a probate situation. Can he keep all the funds from the insurance policies?

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Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
Unfortunately, if the life insurance just gave it to him to divide up, then you may have a problem because that's not binding upon him. As for the estate, yes, you probably need to file for an Administration proceedings and ask that you be appointed as the Administrator rather than your brother. That's because the Will was incomplete and that would mean there is no Will. You'll probably need to hire an attorney for this proceeding. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 5/9/2011
Burnham & Associates
Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
Unfortunately, there is nothing you are going to be able to do. First, there is no Last Will and Testament. Even if there were a Last Will and Testament, the Beneficiary Designation would override the Last Will and Testament. The Insurance Policies will go to the Beneficiary named regardless of any other understanding.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 5/5/2011
Law Offices of Brian Chew
Law Offices of Brian Chew | Brian Chew
A beneficiary designation to specific person overrides the will, the trust and any probate proceedings unless someone can prove in court that the designation was made by your father as a result of undue influence or lack of capacity when he made the beneficiary designation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/5/2011
Apple Law Firm PLLC
Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
Your rights will vary depending on what the will states and whether it is valid, you should discuss it with a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer to see what your rights and options are.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 5/5/2011
Law Offices of Timothy G. Kearney, LLC
Law Offices of Timothy G. Kearney, LLC | Timothy G. Kearney
The beneficiary of the insurance policies can keep those proceeds as they pass outside of the estate. Any other assets should pass by the will or by the laws of intestacy. You should consult with an attorney to discuss your options. Good Luck.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 5/5/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    Life insurance proceeds pass outside of the probate process. Thus, if your brother is the sole beneficiary of the policy, then he is entitled to all of the proceeds outright - *even if there was a Will that stated otherwise*.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    Life insurance proceeds are not part of a deceased person's estate unless the estate itself was the beneficiary named in the life insurance policy. If the brother is the sole beneficiary named in the life insurance policy, that is his money.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/5/2011
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