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Do I have to divide any money or estate left to me if not instructed to?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

I have just lost my grandmother.  She left me her 401k, life insurance, and I’m pretty sure her estate

ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU:

As a beneficiary of the 401(k) and life insurance, you will inherit these assets outside of probate.  Her estate will be governed by her will.  If she named you as the sole beneficiary, then only you will inherit.  Legally, you are not required to share a bequest that a testator made to you.  However, the fact you are asking this question leads me to believe that others in the family believed that they would inherit from your grandmother, as well.  If your grandmother made statements to them that they were included in her estate plan, be ready for a fight, especially if she had a large net worth.  Some family members may claim that you exerted undue influence over your grandmother so that she changed her beneficiaries to be just you.

Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice.

Beliveau Law Group: Massachusetts | Florida | New Hampshire

The probate litigation attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provide legal services for probate, estate administration, and trust administration. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.

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