Payout of Father-in-law's Life Insurance

My husband's father has died; a sister is executor, and is in no hurry to settle the (substantial) estate. Our question is simple: Although we are being kept in the dark, haven't seen the will and my husband doesn't want to ask and appear anxious, we can't afford to take our family to the funeral without the insurance settlement. Can we (if we can get ahold of a death certificate and the agent's name) find out about the insurance independent of the other beneficiaries? How long on average can we expect before we get a payout of our equal share? We know for a fact that the insurance is split evenly, four ways. Isn't the estate (house, assets, and debts) handled separately? I think we need a lawyer and are at least entitled immediately to a copy of the will and of the policy he is a beneficiary of. If we know the insurance will pay within a month, we could probably borrow a little against it somehow to attend the service.

Answer:

If you are a beneficiary of the life insurance policy, and can submit the required documentation for the policy (death certificate would be a requirement), then you can likely trigger the payment to all the beneficiaries. Insurance that specifies individuals as beneficiaries will bypass the executor and settling of the estate completely, since the payment is to the people and not to the estate.

In most cases, you can expect a life insurance payout to happen in weeks. If you need the money in days, you would likely be out of luck. As a beneficiary, you should be able to find out how much you would be expecting. Once you know the amount of the insurance payout, you can decide whether or not you should borrow against it.

The rest of the estate will be handled separately, and by the executor. That will include handling of debts, assets, and any monies. Unfortunately, I don't know of any legal stipulation that an estate be finalized in a specific time period. I actually know of one estate that took years to be finalized! Here's hoping that the executor of your father-in-law's estate doesn't take that long.

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