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Answers to Common Questions and Situations

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I thought life insurance did not go through probate?

does life insurance go through probateI recently received a question from Marietta, Georgia regarding life insurance. In this situation, someone died and that person had named a beneficiary on their life insurance policy. Then, the beneficiary died before the proceeds of the insurance were paid to the beneficiary. What happens to the money?

Situations like this can get a little complicated because there are multiple steps involved.

Generally, when a life insurance policy has a beneficiary designation it goes to the named beneficiary without having to go through probate court. It is considered to be a non-probate asset. So, in the situation above, when the first person died, the the life insurance policy should have been paid to the beneficiary. Unless the policy contains an exclusion, upon the beneficiary’s death, the policy becomes payable to the beneficiary’s estate.

Once the policy is paid to the beneficiary’s estate, it is cash, which is considered a probate asset under Georgia law. At that point the insurance proceeds will go through probate just like any other probate asset. If there is a will, the executor will follow the terms of the will. If not, then the estate will be distributed in accordance with Georgia intestacy law.

Have more questions? We’re Marietta, Georgia probate attorneys and we’re here to help. Contact us to schedule your free consultation.

Disclaimer: The information above is provided for general information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice is specifically tailored to your particular situation. Please contact our office to receive specific information advice about your situation.

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About the author

Erik J. Broel
Founder & ceo

Erik founded the firm in 2009. He sees it as his personal mission to demystify the process of handling an estate or trust, and to help people by making the complex estate process simple and accessible. He believes there is always a better way to do things, and loves finding new and innovative ways to deliver better, more effective service that solves the client’s key problem or issue, and improves the client’s life.

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