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Question for the Money Doctors

Question submitted on Nov 14, 2013.


I recently received a death benefit check from fegli because of my dads death. in his will it is noted that each my brother and i split any remaining monies unless otherwise noted. my brother did not claim his half of the check from fegli and it was awarded to myself. he was sent two letters from fegli and many emails from me. am i legally allowed to keep the whole check i was mailed becauseof my claim.


FEGLI is the Federal Employee Group Life Insurance coverage. The key rule of thumb is that any legal document should be reviewed by an attorney. A will is a legal document. I can give some perspective. The answer as to whom has rights to the life insurance proceeds depends upon the beneficiary designation. If the beneficiary designation identifies only you on the FEGLI proceeds, my hunch is that you are probably entitlted to keep the proceeds. If you received it as the trustee of the estate, then, it should be allocated based on the stipulations of the governing document, which in this case may be the will. If there are more than one beneficiary, it gets more complicated. If all beneficiaries are alive, beneficiaries have a right to the percentage that they have been identified on the beneficiary designation form. If one has passed, you look to contingent beneficiaries, which are who is to receive the proceeds if one of the beneficiaries have pre-deceased the insured. If there is no contingent beneficiary, the remaining beneficiaries may be entitled a recomputed share. Complicating matters, specific contingent beneficiaries may not be named. This is also true of the beneficiary designation. Sometimes a "box" is checked to signify all living children at the time of death. To be sure, you will want to have an attorney review the documents you have to ensure that you are handling your father''s estate properly.

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