Legal Question in Insurance Law in California

My mother died intestate in CA. I am the beneficiary on her life insurance policy but found a letter stating that another policy is paid in full through March of 2011. I asked the insurance company about it and was told that I am not named on the policy. I cannot find a copy of the policy anywhere and no one knows anything about it at all. I am the sole surviving heir. Is there anything I can do before it lapses in case no one claims it? Does the insurance company have to inform the beneficiary of her death and that they are a party to this if they don't know?

Asked on 8/13/10, 4:25 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Steven Murray Steven W. Murray, APC

Assets can be transferred without a formal probate proceeding if the gross value of all of the deceased's property does not exceed $100,000. If this is true in your case, advise the insurer that you are the successor of the deceased and entitled to collect all of her property. This is as if you were the estate representative. This has nothing to do with who is the beneficiary of the policy.

If your claims representative is knowledgeable and reasonable, this should do it. Good luck.

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Answered on 8/18/10, 4:40 pm
Robert F. Cohen Law Office of Robert F. Cohen

Following up, it's possible that your mother didn't name a beneficiary on the second policy, or left it to her estate. So it makes sense to follow Mr. Murray's suggestion about making the small estate claim. You can find the affidavit form at, among other places, .

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Answered on 8/18/10, 5:05 pm

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