Life Insurance

Do my life insurance proceeds pass through my will?

No, life insurance proceeds pass outside of probate. They are payable to the beneficiary named on the beneficiary designation form with the insurance company.

What if I do not name a beneficiary?

If you do not name a beneficiary, the life insurance proceeds are payable to your estate, and then they will pass under your will at your death.  If you do not have a will, the proceeds will pass by intestate succession, which is decided by the State but is usually to your closest living heirs first.

How do I change my life insurance beneficiary?

You should talk to your life insurance company. Usually, you have to fill out and sign special papers to change your beneficiary.

Life Insurance PDF

Acknowledgements & Disclaimer: This Fact Sheet was prepared by West Tennessee Legal Services (WTLS) and made possible by Serving Tennessee Seniors-administered by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee at the request of the Chancery Court. WTLS thanks the Tennessee Bar Association for its permission to use The Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors (2014 edition) as a primary information source. This publication is supported, in part, by funds provided by the Southwest Area Agency on Aging and Disability, the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The content herein does not necessarily reflect the opinion or policy of the Southwest Area Agency on Aging and Disability or any agency of Tennessee or the U.S. government. Fact Sheets are for information only and not intended to replace legal advice. If you are in need of legal help, call WTLS at (800) 372-8346, or seek the help of a private attorney. (Revised 5/2017)