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Q: In WA State Is A Beneficiary of An Estate Allowed to See A Copy of Life Insurance Policy?

  • By: Christopher Benson
  • Published: February 17, 2014

Q: In WA State Is A Beneficiary of An Estate Allowed to See A Copy of Life Insurance Policy?

A: In Washington, a named beneficiary is entitled to receive notices of events that occur in the administration of the estate: such as receive a copy of the Will, inventory, accounting etc.

However, a life insurance policy is a little different animal. Life insurance is a contract that somebody has with an insurance company. Upon the death of the named insured, the insurance company has a legal contractual duty to pay the policy amount to the named beneficiary. by operation of law, Life insurance contracts pass to the beneficiary outside of the probate proceedings UNLESS the named beneficiary is “The Estate of X.” In that case, by operation of law, the life insurance company would pay the benefit to the Estate of X.

So, if you know the insurance company identity, you can contact the life insurance company directly to see if you are a named beneficiary. The insurance company will tell you yes or no. However, if you are not a named beneficiary, there is no legal duty to inform you “who” is the actual beneficiary.

In any event, if the personal representative will not provide you with the information you request, you can always hire a lawyer and file a TEDRA action against the personal representative and the estate and obtain the documents requested through formal discovery process.

Christopher Benson

About the Author Chris served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity
Seattle/S. King County for 10 years and served as Vice President
of the organization during part of that time. Read More