A life insurance policy is not an adequate substitution for a Will. Your insurance policy only determines what happens to the payout of the policy when you die, and it does not cover other probate property. When you name a specific individual as the beneficiary of your policy, that person receives your life insurance policy proceeds and nothing else under the policy. Similarly, your Written Will cannot control your insurance policy, and you must change the policy beneficiary in order to name a specific individual as your intended beneficiary.
For example, if your policy names your niece as your beneficiary, you cannot use your Will to change the beneficiary. If you want to replace your nephew as your beneficiary, you must contact your life insurance carrier and execute paperwork changing your beneficiary. You can ask your insurance company to pay your life insurance proceeds to your estate, and your Will can direct which heirs receive those proceeds. Our office can help you coordinate your life insurance policy with your Will if you ask us to work with your insurance carrier and discuss this with us in advance.
Often, many Ohio residents incorrectly assume that having a life insurance policy is an adequate substitution for a Will. Although your life insurance policy is part of your estate planning, it does not act as a legal substitute for a Will. If you do not draft a Will, you are subject to the state’s intestacy laws. For more information, please consult our office at 513.721.1513.