My deceased partner whom I was not married to had two policies. I am sole beneficiary of one. Her long deceased mother is beneficiary of the other, which will obviously be distributed to one or all of her siblings after probate. They have made it very clear to me they are legal next of kin. They have made arrangements for a cremation, an urn and have placed an order for 5 death certificates. I have been presented with an assignment of life insurance with the price and only my name and policy is listed. There are assets such as an automobile gifted to us which I spent a significant sum repairing to make road-worthy for our mutual use which is solely in her name and other items I paid for but were registered under her name also. Her body has been at the funeral home for six days. The funeral home has implied that they will soon pursue a suit against ME if I do not sign the assignment. Since the policy her next of kin will end up getting has to go through probate, I am being made to feel obligated to shoulder the burden of all costs and I suspect the aforementioned assets will be lost after probate. What should I do?
Don’t sign anything. Please make an appointment to see an attorney experienced in probate litigation. That attorney can ask all the many questions to see what your rights are in this circumstance. Please accept my condolences on your loss. Good luck.
I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in MI and FL so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice. You seek more specific advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.
If you're the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, the money is yours and you can't be forced to spend any of it on anything you don't want to spend it on. If you contributed money for the car repairs, you can file against the estate like all other creditors and be lined up with other creditors. I'd suggest you hire an attorney to protect your rights. You may also have other claims which a probate attorney can advise you about and I would not wait to contact one.
Signing over life insurance benefits is a typical way for funeral homes to get paid. But, they would only be asking this of the person who contracted with the funeral home for funeral services. It is considered a convenient way of paying for funeral services when the person contracting for the services does not have money to pay for it themselves. Can they force you to assign your rights in the policy? No. Can they sue you for nonpayment if you are the person who hired them? Yes.
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