The Moneyist: My father named my late mother as a beneficiary on his $80,000 life insurance, but my stepmother says it belongs to her. Who’s right?

by | Apr 8, 2023 | Stock Market

Dear Quentin, My dad died in September in Pennsylvania (although he was a Florida resident), and my stepmother insists there is no will and no estate, but then she texted to say that my father wanted me to inherit an account that listed my late mother as beneficiary. The insurance company told me this account was valued at $80,000 and it would need to go to probate.

A few weeks later they emailed and said they decided that all of it should go to my stepmother as my dad forgot to change the account from my mom as beneficiary to me. She obviously thinks that’s an excellent decision, and now she’s telling me he must have changed his mind and that he meant it to go to her even though she texted me differently. I’m under the impression that estates in Florida valued at over $75,000 are required to go through probate, and I’m wondering if my stepmother is legally allowed to just take an account that listed my mom as beneficiary that my father told her was meant for me. Isn’t probate required for anything over $75,000 in Florida?  I’m a Colorado resident, an indie musi …

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