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How quickly do life insurance companies have to distribute to beneficiaries upon death of policy holder?

Saint Paul, MN |

Are there any laws governing how quickly a life insurance policy must be distributed to beneficiaries in the state of Minnesota? There was some confusion within the life insurance company because a beneficiary change was made online. Immediately after the death of the policy holder the ex-wife was told the children were the sole beneficiaries since there was none listed, however, this was wrong and was discovered 4 weeks after the death, but before any distributions were made. The insurance company has received all necessary paperwork from me (the actual beneficiary) including a certified death certificate and they are now saying they want to wait for distribution until the mother of the children has been notified. This seems odd to me since notifying her doesn't effect the outcome.

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Attorney answers 2

Best Answer

The collection timing on life insurance is not statutory. The contract could affect timing, but most contracts only require that there be a death. Your hold up is because there appears to be a dispute as to the beneficiary and timing of the possible beneficiary changes. The company will make sure there are no mistakes in this case and will require that their lawyers clear any proceeds to be paid out. If the other party agrees that there is some dispute, it may have to be settled in court. MN Statute allows proceeds from insurance (even when paid outside of the typical estate), to be includable in the proceedings. You should get an attorney on your side to make sure your rights are protected.


When there is a discrepancy, life insurance companies will take the "long road home" instead of rushing to judgment. They would rather go slowly than make a mistake and since it seems that the children are not included and you don't give your specific status, they will want to investigate in detail before making any distribution.

Good luck.