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By: Scott Grossman on June 18th, 2018

Beneficiary Designation: Take These Steps After a Suspicious Change

Discovering that your loved one changed a life insurance policy beneficiary designation unexpectedly or unusually can be very upsetting for family members and loved ones. In some cases, the new beneficiary may have exerted undue influence to convince your loved one to make the change. Proving this, however, can be challenging. For this reason, it is crucial to take the following actions:

  1. Consult with an experienced estate litigation attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you to assess whether a claim is viable, as well as assist you in gathering the proper evidence for your claim.
  2. Furthermore, Obtain copies of the insurance policy, the original beneficiary designation, and the changed designation.
  3. Additionally, Gather copies of written communication that relate to the change in the designation.
  4. Also, obtain medical records and other evidence that speaks to the mental state of your loved one. This must be specifically one at the time the change was made.
  5. Lastly, gather evidence that indicates the type of relationship and the dynamic between the new beneficiary and your deceased loved one.

Understanding whether undue influence existed can be difficult for those inexperienced in this field of the law. Our article, “Undue Influence in California: Was Your Loved One a Victim?” provides a helpful overview to assess whether it may have taken place in your matter. If you can prove that undue influence took place, you may be able to have the changed beneficiary designation invalidated.

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  • Beneficiary (noun): A person who benefits from a trust, will, or life insurance policy. This includes heir, heiress, inheritor, legatee; recipient, receiver, payee, donee, assignee; devisee, grantee.
  • Litigation (noun): Litigation is the act or process of bringing a lawsuit to enforce a particular right. This can include Will contests, Trust Litigations, and Probate Litigation.


If you are ready to start your case, then please give us a call or fill out our Get Help Now form. A comprehensive overview of California Probate is available here. Should you have additional questions about trust litigation, you will find plenty of useful information in our Learning Center.