How could I become beneficiary after my husband's death? 8 Answers as of July 06, 2015

My husband passed away with no will, and bills, bills, bills. He left his mother as beneficiary and I was left with nothing. Can I pursue her to pay funeral cost? Funeral director had me sign paperwork with all of us assuming that I would be beneficiary. I can not afford this payment, as she has done nothing to help, but has went shopping with the money.

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
In Maryland, you might not have a claim against someone who was beneficiary of your late husband's non-probate assets. If you assumed personal liability in paying for funeral expenses, as funeral homes often require, then you could be "out of pocket" for those expenses. You may be able to be reimbursed for those expenses if there are probate assets to administer.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 7/6/2015
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
In Nevada if a person leaves a spouse out, they can still claim a share of the community assets and the separate assets.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 6/29/2015
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
No will, but Mom is the beneficiary? What am I missing?
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/29/2015
S. Joseph Schramm | Joseph Schramm
It is unclear what you mean by beneficiary. If you mean beneficiary of your husband's estate, then you would be the primary intestate beneficiary and entitled to receive the net assets of the estate after deduction of expenses, payment of bills and payment of inheritance taxes, provided there were no children or grandchildren of your marriage. If, by beneficiary, you mean the beneficiary of one or more life insurance policies, bank accounts or securities you will be unable to receive any of the funds on which your mother-in-law was named the beneficiary. She would receive all the money in those accounts and can do whatever she wants to do with them. As for any estate administration, if there would be nothing but bills in the estate, or more bills than assets, you probably should not open any estate proceeding. If those bills are against your husband alone, instead of against you and your husband, the creditors will be unable to pursue you for collection.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 6/29/2015
Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
I assume when you say his mother is the beneficiary, you mean of a life insurance policy, an IRA or a similar account. There is nothing you can do. Your husband had the right to name his beneficiary and he chose his mother. Now this may have been done years ago, perhaps before you even met him, but by not doing some estate planning, you're screwed. A person is only liable for a funeral bill if they signed the paperwork.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 6/29/2015
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    If your husband's estate is held responsible for those bills, the assets of his estate should go first to pay those off. I assume that his mother inherited via an insurance policy or some other asset that usually isn't included in a decedent's estate. You, or more likely a creditor, might be able to convince a probate court to overturn the beneficiary designation and use those funds to cover funeral costs, etc.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 6/29/2015
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    To answer your question directly, you cannot become a beneficiary after a person dies. As far as pursuing your mother-in-law to pay for the funeral costs, there is no recourse. As your husband's next of kin, you are responsible for the funeral costs. You can possibly speak to the funeral home directly and maybe make some arrangements.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/29/2015
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    Don't sign anything and speak with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/26/2015
Click to View More Answers: