The superior court sitting in probate lacks jurisdiction to determine who is the beneficiary entitled to payment of the proceeds of a life insurance policy taken out on the decedent. The policy benefits are not a property that the decedent ever owned. Rather, the decedent only had the right to name the beneficiary of the policy. The beneficiary of the life insurance policy takes proceeds as a matter of contract law, not intestate succession and the insurance proceeds never become part of the decedent’s estate. So the probate court has no jurisdiction over the proceeds or the policy and so cannot enter a judgment determining who is the proper beneficiary of the policy.
California Court of Appeal, First District, Division 1 (Dondero, J.); June 22, 2018; 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 580