Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in New Jersey

Hello. My mom passed away last June and my sister is executor of her will. The will states that I am to recieve $ 20,000. In addition, but not mentioned in the will, is a life insurance policy in which I am beneficiary (my mom is the owner). It is now part of her estate. My sister refuses to pay me the $ 20,000 as well as sign over the life insurance policy. What rights do I have? Is my sister legally obliged to give me the $20,000, and by a certain date? Thank you very much. Derek Leach

Asked on 4/14/20, 12:52 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Jef Henninger, Esq Law Offices of Jef Henninger, Esq.

You have the right to fight this out in court. As that can eat into the money that you are owed, it may be better (much cheaper) to have an attorney resolve this out of court. Call us at 1-855-9-JEFLAW to discuss.

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Answered on 4/14/20, 12:57 pm
Jonathan Chester The Law Office of Jonathan S. Chester, Esq., LLC


Are you the named beneficiary on the life insurance? If so, your sister as executor has nothing to do with the payment of this policy...the life insurance company should be paying you directly.

If you are named for a $20,000 bequest under the Will, assuming the estate is solvent, you must be paid within one year of probate, otherwise, the estate will also owe you statutory interest on the unpaid $20,000 until it is paid. If she refuses to pay you, then you can sue her and your legal fees and expenses would be payable by the estate/executor.

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Answered on 4/14/20, 1:56 pm
Walter LeVine Walter D. LeVine, Esq.

I agree with the above answers. You can even apply to the probate court where the Will was probated to have your sister removed as Executrix for her failure to honor the Will provisions. Contact the insurance company directly as you do not need your sister to apply for the policy ;proceeds if you are the sole beneficiary under the policy.

Since the courts are closed now due to the contravirus crisis, a simple letter from an attorney may avoid a court procedure which can be costly. Writing a letter may only cost a few hundred dollars, whereas a full court procedure, which can take a lot of time and thousands of dollars in fees and hundreds in court costs.

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Answered on 4/14/20, 2:58 pm

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