Do you have life insurance? Now is the time to double check the beneficiary on your policy. If you never named a specific person to inherit and just assumed it would be the person named in your will (i.e. your spouse or children), then all of your life insurance benefits will have to go through a long and expensive court process, called probate.
What is probate? Probate is a method in which the court will legally determine the validity of your will, if any, and who gets your assets. If you did not identify a beneficiary on your life insurance policy, then probate court is there to legally distribute your benefits to your desired recipients. Unfortunately, this process can take up to a year and cost a lot of money in fees. Here are the typical steps in the probate process:
Your personal representative has to prove to the court that your will was valid. This will depend on the laws in your state, but usually it means that you had a witness and you weren’t under undue influence from another person at the time you signed your will.
Your personal representative then has to notify all creditors who may want to make a claim for money that you owe them at the time of your death.
Next, your personal representative must inventory and appraise all of your assets, including your life insurance benefits.
Once this is done, he or she must pay debts and taxes.
Lastly, the remainder of the assets in the estate will be distributed to the specified heirs. If you didn’t have a will or didn’t specify an heir, then your assets will go to the next of kin.
Contact One of Our Glendale Insurance Agents for Expert Advice
Call one of our insurance agents in Glendale today to make sure that your life insurance policy is properly handled. We specialize in multiple types of insurance and can assist you in all your insurance needs!