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What documentation/court orders will be required to recover the value of the life insurance policy from FL unclaimed property?

Largo, FL |

I discovered a life insurance policy on my mother's life after she died last spring. The beneficiary was my father who died in 2000. Nearly all of their assets were held in a revocable living trust so no probate was required. The insurance company refuses to release the money without Letters of Administration from the Probate court. I was told about the Summary Administration and prepared the necessary documents to file, but before I spent $400 for filing fees I asked the insurance company if the Summary Administration would suffice. They refuse to agree to accept the Summary Administration and keep threatening to escheat the funds and send them to Florida's Unclaimed Property Division.

I am the sole beneficiary and the value of the insurance policy is far less than $75K. The quote I got for Letters of Administration even exceeds the insurance's value, but that's not the question I am asking. First, I am in no hurry for the money, so the question is, if they escheat the funds to the Florida Unclaimed Property Division, what will I need to do to get the money from them? Is this a simpler process, or will I still have to go to the Probate court for a Summary Administration?

Attorney Answers 6


  1. Summary Administration should be fine, but remember you cannot file them unless you are the only beneficiary. Doing so would be the unauthorized practice of law.

    My comments are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship, are not confidential, and are not intended to constitute legal advice. Proper legal advice can only be given by an attorney who agrees to represent you, who reviews the facts of your specific case, who does not have a conflict of interest preventing the representation, and who is licensed as an attorney in the state where the law applies.


  2. You should hire an attorney to help you work with the life insurance company and to represent you in a Summary Administration proceeding.

    The answer provided to the question does not constitute legal advice or establish an attorney-client relationship.


  3. Joe Pippen, a frequent avvo participant, has an office in Largo. I highly recommend contacting his office for help. http://attypip.com

    Please visit our website at www.411FlaLaw.com and watch our video. It is an eye-opener to most people who have no idea how much Planning they can actually do in their Estate Plans. If interested, contact us to inquire about special low cost monthly financing of your estate planning fee. You may be very surprised at how affordable a comprehensive estate plan for your whole family can be. The above answers are not legal advice and should not be relied upon until you meet with an attorney and review all of your particular facts and circumstances. This forum does not create an attorney-client relationship.


  4. Summary Administration would only be available if the value of the life insurance policy is less than $75K. Read the contract with the life insurance policy holder. Typically, if the beneficiary is no longer living, the money goes to the estate of the decedent, here, your mother. Hire a good local probate attorney to advise you as to the best possible avenue for obtaining the life insurance benefits.

    My answer is of a general nature and should not be construed to be legal advice nor creating an attorney-client relationship. Carol Johnson Law Firm, P.A. practices in the area of Wills, Trusts, and Estates, Disability - with a particular focus on providing Special Needs Trusts for disabled children and adults.


  5. Best bet is to Google "life insurance lawyer" to find someone who knows what they are doing.


  6. It is unfortunate that we have to explain FL probate law to uninformed insurance companies from up north. Letters are not issued in every probate, and personal representatives are not appointed in every case. The summary administration process is the way to go, but you need an attorney to file one of these. Joe Pippen, from this site is near you. Please talk with him at least.

    R. Jason de Groot, Esq. We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I make do not constitute legal advice. Any statements made by me are based upon the limited facts you have presented, and under the premise that you will consult with a local attorney. This is not an attempt to solicit business. This disclaimer is in addition to any disclaimers that this website has made. I am only licensed in Florida.

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