In New Jersey, a beneficiary is named on a $15k life insurance policy. That beneficiary collects the money and decides to pay the funeral expenses of $9k, then decides she wants to be reimbursed from the estate for the money spent on the funeral.

There in no will.

Since there was a beneficiary named, is the policy part of the estate? Because of that, can the the beneficiary force the estate to reimburse them for the cost of the funeral?

I don't think so, but need clarification.

  • I reworded the question as... a question. If you don't like the edits, feel free to use the "edit" button to revert to the original version.
    – RonJohn
    Jan 8, 2020 at 13:46

1 Answer 1


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You are correct that life insurance proceeds, accounts held jointly, or accounts with a named beneficiary pass outside of probate. Those kinds of things are not an asset of the estate.

Certainly final expenses are a reasonable expense of the estate and are typically paid prior to any creditors of heirs. So the beneficiary, who paid the final expenses, can expect to be paid first prior to anyone else receiving proceeds. However they would have to petition the probate judge for such a thing.

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