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Is it illegal to change a beneficiary on a life policy to yourself if the owner dies?

Term Life Insurance & Whole Life Insurance Discussion

Is it illegal to change a beneficiary on a life policy to yourself if the owner dies?

Postby parry » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:36 pm

Is there anything that can be done about someone basically taking it upon themself to remove the children of the deceased from the insurance policy because the person who originally bought the policy had passed away..so the daughter changed the beneficiary took the children off and never told anyone about the policy other than to say that it had lapsed years before...
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Is it illegal to change a beneficiary on a life policy to yourself if the owner dies?

Postby edmyg » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:38 pm

No, she did not do this. If the beneficiary died, the rights to the policy would pass through that beneficiary's estate. Once the deceased died, there is no way to change anything.

The insurance company would not allow the change you are suggesting.
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Is it illegal to change a beneficiary on a life policy to yourself if the owner dies?

Postby eleder » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:46 pm

Only the person whose life is insured has the right to select or change the beneficiary. I am not sure I understand your question but I will give it a shot:

If there is a life insurance policy on someone - say it is my dad - only my dad can pick or change the beneficiary of his own policy, regardless of whether he is paying the premiums or if someone else has. Also once he is dead, no one can continue to pay those premiums or change beneficiaries.

It sounds like you are trying to figure out if the person who pays the premiums has died, can another person who then takes over the responsibility for paying the premiums change the beneficiary. That answer to that question, if that is what you are asking is no. Only the person whose death would trigger the policy can change the beneficiary. Call the insurance company to find out who and how the beneficiary was changed.
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Is it illegal to change a beneficiary on a life policy to yourself if the owner dies?

Postby sawyers29 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:50 pm

Insurance companies are quite good at determining if someone has the legal right to change beneficiaries on a life policy.

When the original owner of a policy passes away, there are generally provisions written into the policy which allow for secondary owners or for the executor/executrix of the original owner's estate to make further changes (such as beneficiary changes).

1st edit: Stuart and Max's Mom are incorrect. In a life insurance policy, policy changes are always made by the OWNER of a policy, which can be a different person from the insured and also be a different person from the beneficiary. So long as someone has an insurable interest, they can own a life insurance policy on another person (but only with that person's signature on the application).

In addition, in a life insurance policy, the insured, owner, and beneficiary can be and often are three separate individuals.

2nd edit: As executrix of your grandmother's estate, your aunt had the legal right to assume ownership of the life insurance policy and to change the beneficiary. While you may have disagreed with your aunt's decisions and communications regarding your mother's life insurance policy, her actions were well within her rights as executrix of your grandmother's estate.
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Is it illegal to change a beneficiary on a life policy to yourself if the owner dies?

Postby ryen » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:53 pm

The daughter of the insured is not able to change anything on the policy - particularly the beneficiary.

the insurance company will only deal with the insured or, in the event of the insured's death, the executor of the estate. In either case, the policy cannot be changed by anyone but the insured.

You wrote: "...so the daughter changed the beneficiary took the children off..."

Sounds like you did not get the true story. The daughter did not do anything to the policy.

- Stuart
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