When hiring life insurance, a more logical option is to designate a beneficiary, the person or persons who will receive the economic benefit if the death of the holder occurs. We can choose any person, it does not need to be a relative and it is not forever, we can change it at any time. For this we can choose to do so expressly, identifying the person or persons who will receive the insurance with name and surname, or do it in a generic way: children, mothers, father, spouse, etc. There is only one limit, if the amount to be distributed for life insurance damages the legitimate heirs may request that this amount be part of their inheritance.
But as we have anticipated, it is not mandatory to designate beneficiary. If so, the economic rights will be received by your heirs like the rest of your assets. But there are some differences and obligations that you should keep in mind. We explain it to you.
What steps does an heir have to perform
The first step, even if it seems logical, is to perform all the necessary procedures to determine that you are an heir. The first is to obtain a certificate of last will from the deceased. It can be requested in person at the central office of attention to the citizen or in the territorial management of the Ministry of Justice or by mail or Internet. This will determine whether or not the deceased person made a will.
If it did, there will be determined how the inheritance is distributed (beyond the existing legal obligations of distribution), on the contrary, if there is no will it will be necessary to go to a notary (in the assumptions that there is degree of kinship) or to the trial court (if there is no family relationship) to request a declaration of heirs .
The second is to know the existence of life insurance
Surely, especially for more direct heirs, they can obtain information directly, either because they have the insurance contract or identify the premium payments. But even in these cases you cannot be 100% sure of having all the information. To achieve this, you just have to go to the Registry of Insurance Contracts with Death Coverage of the Ministry of Justice in person, by mail or online, identifying yourself as an heir to obtain all the information about life insurance on which you will have some right.
The third step is to contact the insurer. For this, the documentation must be presented by which we are designated as heirs that we explain in the first point, which must be accompanied by a death certificate of the insurance holder.
The fourth step, mandatory to be able to collect life insurance
Is to pay the Inheritance Tax corresponding to life insurance. Here you have to take into account an important nuance. By definition, life insurance is not included in the rest of the estate, because it was never part of the estate of the deceased person, the right of collection arises when the death occurs precisely. This would be the case if there were a designated beneficiary, but not in this case if it is integrated into the inheritance.
Of course, the Autonomous Communities, which are those with which the Inheritance Tax is paid offer us an advantage, first make a partial self-assessment only for the amount of the tax. This means that, with a lower outlay than if we did it for the entire inheritance, we can get an amount of cash that often helps us pay the rest of the tax. It should not be forgotten that the total settlement period of this Tax is six months, counted from the date of death.
If you meet all these points step by step you will not only be able to collect all the life insurance you are entitled to as an heir by not appointing beneficiaries, but also to do it more quickly and efficiently.
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