Probate: CA vs ID? [Minor child inherits grandparent's estate]

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flyfishers83
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Re: Violation to Divorce Decree Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation

Post by flyfishers83 »

Did the decree require a specific amount of insurance? Or that husband designate his work policy beneficiary as child? The specifics of the decree will be critical as well as the dollar amounts at issue.

This might be one of those situations where you have to spend a fair bit of money. Contingency of 1/3 of recovery or pursuing atty fees against the estate if provided for in the divorce decree.
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cchrissyy
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Re: Violation to Divorce Decree Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation

Post by cchrissyy »

This is a tangent but I want to point out another important thing to look into for your child, perhaps more fruitful than this apparent failure to get life insurance, which is you should file for their social security survivor benefits.
livelovelaugh00
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Re: Violation to Divorce Decree Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation

Post by livelovelaugh00 »

The lesson here is to verify it every year through court.
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galawdawg
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Re: Violation to Divorce Decree Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation

Post by galawdawg »

masa2021 wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 8:27 pm Thank you all. OP here again. I called many family law attorneys and estate attorneys. I haven't found anyone can help.

The reasons are as follows
1) it is a somewhat unique situation. they told me they don't work with this type of issue.
2) my ex-husband's primary residence at death was Idaho. I am in california. Some attorneys said I should hire an attorney in Idaho. Some think it doesn't matter.

I will keep calling. Any suggestions on finding an appropriate attorney for my situation? Which type of attorneys should I call?
Have you called the attorney who represented you in your divorce action?
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masa2021
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Re: Violation to Divorce Decree Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation

Post by masa2021 »

galawdawg wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:41 pm
masa2021 wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 8:27 pm Thank you all. OP here again. I called many family law attorneys and estate attorneys. I haven't found anyone can help.

The reasons are as follows
1) it is a somewhat unique situation. they told me they don't work with this type of issue.
2) my ex-husband's primary residence at death was Idaho. I am in california. Some attorneys said I should hire an attorney in Idaho. Some think it doesn't matter.

I will keep calling. Any suggestions on finding an appropriate attorney for my situation? Which type of attorneys should I call?
Have you called the attorney who represented you in your divorce action?
Last edited by masa2021 on Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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masa2021
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Re: Violation to Divorce Decree Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation

Post by masa2021 »

flyfishers83 wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 8:57 pm Did the decree require a specific amount of insurance? Or that husband designate his work policy beneficiary as child? The specifics of the decree will be critical as well as the dollar amounts at issue.

This might be one of those situations where you have to spend a fair bit of money. Contingency of 1/3 of recovery or pursuing atty fees against the estate if provided for in the divorce decree.
The decree required an amount that is close to a seven figure. It didn't specify if it had to be a work policy. It did state the child had to be the sole beneficiary during the time period my ex is responsible for providing child support. I think the policy my ex had at the time of death might be worth less than what was required by the decree.

I think you are right about attorney fee. the contingency of 1/3 of recovery. Thank you.
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masa2021
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Re: Violation to Divorce Decree Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation

Post by masa2021 »

123 wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 4:42 pm
masa2021 wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 4:06 pm ...3)How can I move quickly on this situation? They said it would only take the insurance company a couple of weeks to release the fund to the beneficiary once they receive the death certificate. I worry the life insurance payout might be spent before an attorney can help me...
You should immediately notify the insurance company in writing that you wish to file a claim for the policy proceeds in accordance with a court order. You should include the name of the deceased, the deceased data of birth, date of death, place of death, and policy number. If you have a policy number that would be very helpful to them. If you have a copy of the court judgement you should include that with your letter. Though they likely might eventually require a certified copy of the judgement a non-certified copy is better than nothing.

Claims for life insurance proceeds are normally very simple. The insurance company may never have been served with a copy of the court order so it is important to notify them that such an order exists. The insurance company's legal department will likely become involved to evaluate the court order.

If you delay and the proceeds are correctly and properly paid out to someone else because the insurance company was unaware of the court order it would be very difficult to receive the proceeds.
Thank you.
I will send a letter to the insurance company.
Last edited by masa2021 on Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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celia
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Re: Violation to Divorce Decree Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation

Post by celia »

How do you know there isn't another policy out there that the executor doesn't know about?

I seem to recall that there is a way to locate an insurance policy if you don't know what company it might be with. Any other readers know about this?

If the ex moved to Idaho soon after the divorce, I would go through their state's Department of Insurance to find out what all the Life Insurance companies are that are licensed to sell in the state. You can also do this for California. Assuming the number of companies is "reasonable", you could start calling them. Besides asking if they hold a policy for your ex, ask them if there is a way to find the insurance company, when it is unknown.
MikeG62
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Re: Violation to Divorce Decree Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation

Post by MikeG62 »

masa2021 wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:22 am
123 wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 4:42 pm
masa2021 wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 4:06 pm ...3)How can I move quickly on this situation? They said it would only take the insurance company a couple of weeks to release the fund to the beneficiary once they receive the death certificate. I worry the life insurance payout might be spent before an attorney can help me...
You should immediately notify the insurance company in writing that you wish to file a claim for the policy proceeds in accordance with a court order. You should include the name of the deceased, the deceased data of birth, date of death, place of death, and policy number. If you have a policy number that would be very helpful to them. If you have a copy of the court judgement you should include that with your letter. Though they likely might eventually require a certified copy of the judgement a non-certified copy is better than nothing.

Claims for life insurance proceeds are normally very simple. The insurance company may never have been served with a copy of the court order so it is important to notify them that such an order exists. The insurance company's legal department will likely become involved to evaluate the court order.

If you delay and the proceeds are correctly and properly paid out to someone else because the insurance company was unaware of the court order it would be very difficult to receive the proceeds.
Thank you.
The employer's HR gave me the contact information of the legal department of their company. I sent the page about life insurance requirement from my divorce settlement to the company legal department. The paralegal replied my email. She said she will look into it and will get back to me when she has more information.
I asked HR for policy number. They refused to give it to me.
I will send a letter to the insurance company. I will include my ex-husband's social security number, and all the other information you suggested. Thank you again.
It probably goes without saying, but I will say it anyway - retain copies of all written correspondence between yourself and his ex-employer and the insurance company. I would clearly state in any and all correspondence with both that if the proceeds of the insurance policy are distributed before my claim is adjudicated, both of them will be parties to any legal claim I subsequently bring.

I am honestly surprised you have been unable to secure an attorney who is interested in representing you in this matter. Unfortunately, this will likely cost you money up front in the form of a retainer to get a lawyer engaged.

OP, there may be some useful information in this link...

https://familylawyermagazine.com/articl ... r-divorce/
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AB609
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Re: Violation to Divorce Decree Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation

Post by AB609 »

Sorry you find yourself in this bad situation. Do you know who the executor of the estate is? Have you contacted them? It seems that your child may have a potential claim to other assets of the estate depending on his will or lack thereof.
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galawdawg
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Re: Violation to Divorce Decree Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation

Post by galawdawg »

masa2021 wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 11:55 pm
galawdawg wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:41 pm Have you called the attorney who represented you in your divorce action?
We didn't use attorneys in the divorce. The settlement paperwork was done through a paralegal office and approved by court.
:oops:

And yet in both this thread and your other threads (viewtopic.php?f=2&t=335400), despite advice from several attorneys that you need an attorney, you persist on sending letters to and communicating with potential opposing parties and attempting to handle this on your own. A letter from an unrepresented former spouse (who is not an attorney and who has no authority to represent another in a legal matter) to an insurance carrier or a law firm representing the estate is likely to receive no action or response. While you are the parent of your minor child, attempting to represent him or her in any legal matter in some jurisdictions would constitute the unauthorized practice of law, a criminal offense.

Please forgive me for being blunt but if you don't hire an attorney to represent the interests of your minor child, this will end no better than your divorce did. If you had been represented by an experienced and competent attorney for your divorce, they would have ensured the decree was enforceable (and included provisions similar to those I suggested earlier in this thread), would have assisted you if it was not complied with (and/or advised on other remedies you might have, such as child support enforcement by your state), and could have filed contempt actions if necessary to enforce the decree. Instead, you allege that your former spouse failed to pay child support, failed to pay alimony and failed to provide the life insurance for your child as the decree purportedly required. Whether that was through inaction, potential issues with the enforceability of your "paralegal office" divorce decree, or other reasons is unknown from your post.

I don't point these things out to be mean-spirited....merely to attempt to persuade you that the consequences of self-representation can be severe (and so far have been in your case) and that your only hope of protecting your child's legal interests are to retain a lawyer. And yes, this will require you to foot the bill as it is extremely unlikely that an experienced and competent attorney would handle a matter such as this on a contingency basis. As I believe was suggested on your other threads, that should be done in Idaho, the state in which your former spouse resided and the state where any legal matters relating to the estate will be handled. If any action concerning the employer life policy is viable, that attorney can handle it or associate counsel in the appropriate venue to pursue that particular claim. Seeking "legal advice" from well-intentioned Bogleheads is fraught with risk. Are these risks that you are willing to assume on behalf of your minor child? I certainly hope not.

Again, you should retain an experienced and competent attorney in a timely fashion to handle these matters. You may wish to start with the Lawyer Referral Service of the Idaho State Bar: https://isb.idaho.gov/lawyer-referral-service/

Again, IANYL and I hope it works out for you and your child. Best wishes.
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masa2021
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Re: Violation to Divorce Decree Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation

Post by masa2021 »

MikeG62 wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 8:51 am
masa2021 wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:22 am
123 wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 4:42 pm
masa2021 wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 4:06 pm ...3)How can I move quickly on this situation? They said it would only take the insurance company a couple of weeks to release the fund to the beneficiary once they receive the death certificate. I worry the life insurance payout might be spent before an attorney can help me...
You should immediately notify the insurance company in writing that you wish to file a claim for the policy proceeds in accordance with a court order. You should include the name of the deceased, the deceased data of birth, date of death, place of death, and policy number. If you have a policy number that would be very helpful to them. If you have a copy of the court judgement you should include that with your letter. Though they likely might eventually require a certified copy of the judgement a non-certified copy is better than nothing.

Claims for life insurance proceeds are normally very simple. The insurance company may never have been served with a copy of the court order so it is important to notify them that such an order exists. The insurance company's legal department will likely become involved to evaluate the court order.

If you delay and the proceeds are correctly and properly paid out to someone else because the insurance company was unaware of the court order it would be very difficult to receive the proceeds.
Thank you.
The employer's HR gave me the contact information of the legal department of their company. I sent the page about life insurance requirement from my divorce settlement to the company legal department. The paralegal replied my email. She said she will look into it and will get back to me when she has more information.
I asked HR for policy number. They refused to give it to me.
I will send a letter to the insurance company. I will include my ex-husband's social security number, and all the other information you suggested. Thank you again.
It probably goes without saying, but I will say it anyway - retain copies of all written correspondence between yourself and his ex-employer and the insurance company. I would clearly state in any and all correspondence with both that if the proceeds of the insurance policy are distributed before my claim is adjudicated, both of them will be parties to any legal claim I subsequently bring.

I am honestly surprised you have been unable to secure an attorney who is interested in representing you in this matter. Unfortunately, this will likely cost you money up front in the form of a retainer to get a lawyer engaged.

OP, there may be some useful information in this link...

https://familylawyermagazine.com/articl ... r-divorce/
Thank you. I will follow your suggestion. I spoke with several family law attorneys and estate attorneys. Some of them told me I need to find an attorney specialize in estate and probate litigation. I left messages for several estate litigation attorneys Friday afternoon and am waiting for them to call back.
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Sandi_k
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Re: Violation to Divorce Decree Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation

Post by Sandi_k »

You should send a letter to the LI company now, even if you have not yet heard from an attorney, IMO.
Seasonal
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Re: Violation to Divorce Decree Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation

Post by Seasonal »

galawdawg wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 5:55 pm...
Life insurance beneficiary contests are challenging legal matters involving complex issues of law and you will NOT be able to handle it on your own. You may or may not have a viable legal position. You may also need to pursue a claim against the estate, assuming that there are assets in the estate. In any event, your first step should be to consult with an attorney. If you have a good relationship with the person who will administer his estate (executor or administrator), you may be able to gently inquire about the existence of another policy that may have named your child as beneficiary.
...
Out of curiosity, what might be the claim against the insurance company or other beneficiaries of a policy? They don't seem to have done anything wrong and the named beneficiary would seem to have clear rights, at least absent additional facts.

I can see a claim against the estate for damages flowing from a failure to maintain the court ordered insurance.

FWIW, I agree with everything you posted in this thread, especially the need to retain competent counsel and do so quickly.
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galawdawg
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Re: Violation to Divorce Decree Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation

Post by galawdawg »

Seasonal wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 7:30 pm
galawdawg wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 5:55 pm...
Life insurance beneficiary contests are challenging legal matters involving complex issues of law and you will NOT be able to handle it on your own. You may or may not have a viable legal position. You may also need to pursue a claim against the estate, assuming that there are assets in the estate. In any event, your first step should be to consult with an attorney. If you have a good relationship with the person who will administer his estate (executor or administrator), you may be able to gently inquire about the existence of another policy that may have named your child as beneficiary.
...
Out of curiosity, what might be the claim against the insurance company or other beneficiaries of a policy? They don't seem to have done anything wrong and the named beneficiary would seem to have clear rights, at least absent additional facts.

I can see a claim against the estate for damages flowing from a failure to maintain the court ordered insurance.

FWIW, I agree with everything you posted in this thread, especially the need to retain competent counsel and do so quickly.
As I mentioned very early in the thread, "Life insurance beneficiary contests are challenging legal matters involving complex issues of law and you will NOT be able to handle it on your own. You may or may not have a viable legal position. You may also need to pursue a claim against the estate, assuming that there are assets in the estate. In any event, your first step should be to consult with an attorney."

And frankly I lack the necessary education and experience in that specific area of law to opine either way, even if all of the facts were presented. An attorney more qualified than I would need to know all of the relevant facts, review all of the available evidence (such as the divorce decree) and research the appropriate statutes and case law before even they could render any informed opinion.

OP also posted several other threads this week on issues surrounding the death of her ex-husband and attempting to collect money for she and her child. In one she indicated that he had no will. If no beneficiary was named on the life policy, the estate will receive the proceeds which would become assets of the estate and distributed in accordance with the priority of claims and intestate succession laws in Idaho, assuming OP is correct about the absence of a will.

Hope that answers your question!
denovo
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Re: Violation to Divorce Decree Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation

Post by denovo »

Maybe it's different for employee life insurance, but don't most life insurance policies require you to include a beneficiary. I am guessing someone else was the beneficiary.

You need a lawyer given all the issues you are having. Have you filed for social security survivor benefits on behalf of your child?
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Good Listener
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Re: Violation to Divorce Decree Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation

Post by Good Listener »

I frankly think that one of the lawsuits should be against the lawyer who represented you in the divorce proceedings for incompetence. I cannot believe that that was not included as a requirement for you to see the policy.
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galawdawg
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Re: Violation to Divorce Decree Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation

Post by galawdawg »

Good Listener wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 8:45 pm I frankly think that one of the lawsuits should be against the lawyer who represented you in the divorce proceedings for incompetence. I cannot believe that that was not included as a requirement for you to see the policy.
The OP did not have an attorney in her divorce, she handled it herself. She recently edited her post that mentioned that important fact to remove that information. :?

Based upon all that I have seen in this thread and OP's other threads on this general subject (now merged into one), I suspect that the OP will unfortunately have difficulty finding an attorney that meets her "expectations."
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Re: Violation to Divorce Decree Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation

Post by MishkaWorries »

Good Listener wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 8:45 pm I frankly think that one of the lawsuits should be against the lawyer who represented you in the divorce proceedings for incompetence. I cannot believe that that was not included as a requirement for you to see the policy.
Excellent point but no lawyer to go after. They did a DIY divorce using a paralegal :confused
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Re: Probate: CA vs ID? [Minor child inherits grandparent's estate]

Post by LadyGeek »

masa2021 - I merged your life insurance beneficiary thread into the prior discussions. All of your questions are for the same situation.

As noted several times (and in this post), the OP's concerns can only be resolved with qualified legal counsel.
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denovo
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Re: Probate: CA vs ID? [Minor child inherits grandparent's estate]

Post by denovo »

masa2021 wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 7:20 pm Hi all. My ex-spouse passed away without a will. We have a minor child. Is this a situation that probate is required for the child to inherit his father's estate?
They are still trying to determine if my ex-spouse's primary residence was Idaho or California. If I understand correctly, that will determine which state will do the probate.
An attorney told me the probate process might be cheaper and faster in ID than CA. Is that true? I am not sure if she was referring to the attorney fee or court filing fee. What are the pros and cons of doing probate in ID vs CA?
Another question, do most people need an attorney for the probate process? Can they start the probate process with the county court without an attorney?
OP,any update
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BBQ Nut
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Re: Probate: CA vs ID? [Minor child inherits grandparent's estate]

Post by BBQ Nut »

I thought in CA, a minor cannot own real estate/property.

Would that mean the real estate in question here has to go into a trust until the minor child is 18 yrs old?
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