Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Massachusetts

Do the proceeds of a life insurance policy have to go to the decendents estate and through probate like other assets?

Asked on 8/19/09, 11:04 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Assuming the decedent was the person insured under the policy, unless the named beneficiaries have pre-deceased the decedent or the estate is named as the beneficiary, then the Life Insurance passes outside of Probate. This does not mean it is not part of the decedents estate for tax purposes however.

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Answered on 8/24/09, 11:16 am
Christopher Vaughn-Martel Charles River Law Partners, LLC

Life insurance policies are unique in that they do not have to go through a person's probate upon death. Assuming the insured named a valid beneficiary who is alive at the time benefits are payable, funds are payable directly to the beneficiary (or beneficiaries). As attorney Roth has indicated, without a tool like an ILIT (irrevocable life insurance trust), or other tax avoidance scheme, the fund are still includable for estate tax purposes.

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Answered on 8/24/09, 11:20 am

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