How can the death proceeds pay out be kept out of the public record?

UPDATED: Jul 11, 2017

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UPDATED: Jul 11, 2017Fact Checked

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Asked July 11, 2017

1 Answer

In Pennsylvania, life insurance payouts are usually not a part of the public record because they are paid directly to a predetermined person (the beneficiary). This means that the money doesn't need to go through probate and won't be a part of the public record when someone passes.

There are some instances where payouts could be disclosed to the public though. These are mostly going to be incidental disclosures for other activities. For example, if you receive a payout and then get divorced, the details of the payout could be revealed through the divorce proceedings when the time comes to split assets. There are also a few ways it could end up in probate, and thus open to public disclosure. If the policy owner owes large estate taxes or if there are no living beneficiaries, the policy will be put in probate.

One of the easiest ways to avoid public disclosure is to set up a trust. It puts assets into a communal ownership so that when a person dies, there is no official or legal transfer of assets. This ensures that the privacy of the assets is not compromised.

Answered July 12, 2017 by midtermquote

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