Back to the Learning Center

By: Scott Grossman on June 18th, 2018

Designation Dispute: Five Steps to Take with a Beneficiary

For estate planning purposes, beneficiary designations are a useful tool for avoiding formal probate proceedings and providing loved ones with quick access to liquid assets following a loved one’s passing. Unfortunately, the proper beneficiaries are not always named on the designation form. This may be a result of fraud, undue influence, error, or simply a mistake. Regardless of the cause, the result may be a beneficiary designation dispute.

If you recently lost a loved one and feel that the wrong party received the proceeds of an asset with a beneficiary designation, consider taking the following steps:

  1. First, contact an attorney experienced in handling San Diego beneficiary designation disputes right away. The more time that passes, the more difficult it may be to receive the inheritance that you rightfully deserve.
  2. Also, obtain a copy of the insurance policy or account paperwork for the asset with the incorrect beneficiary designation.
  3. Additionally, gather copies of communications relating to the asset and the beneficiary designations.
  4. Furthermore, obtain a copy of a divorce agreement if the beneficiary designation was at one time controlled by this form.
  5. Lastly, obtain a copy of the beneficiary designation paperwork submitted to the insurance company if the error was caused by the company itself.

Once you have a qualified legal professional in your corner, he or she will help you right away with protecting your legal rights during an estate administration.

  • 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.
  • Asset (noun): Assets include all the property belonging to a person or an organization.


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.