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Is an insurance policy considered an inheritance


We are 3 brothers and I am the eldest – the bechor, our Mother passed away last week and today we discovered by chance that there was an active life insurance policy for around $10,000.
However, I am not on the list of beneficiaries, only my 2 brothers, one is frum, one is not.
The reason I might have been excluded is because I was living in Eretz Yisroel for many years and I was estranged from her and everyone else, so she did not know an address to put down.
A second possibility, perhaps unlikely, is that she did not want to include me purposely.
My youngest brother who is frum, said that since I am the bechor, perhaps in this case I should get pi shnayim, which he intends to give me from his check when it arrives.
So our question is if this life insurance policy is considered an actual inheritance which requires the first born son to get “double?”
If not, is it permitted for my youngest brother to give me “double” from his portion anyway?
Our other brother is secular, and even if there is an obligation, it is not clear how to ask him to hand over so much money.
How is the pi shnayim calculated?
Is there anything special that should be done with this unexpected money from our departed Mother z”l, who was poor and suffered throughout her life, and died under tragic and horrific circumstances?
Except for some miscellaneous funds in her bank accounts, and her possessions in her apartment, this is the final and very unexpected financial hand from her to us.



It is interesting that your current question can actually take care of your previous question. In your previous question you asked regarding the debts, that your late mother has left that you didn’t have the money to pay them, and now Hashem sent you a great source to pay off her debts.
Regarding, inheritance of the funds of the life insurance policy, being that your mother did not include you in it, regardless of the reason, you would not have a claim to it. This is because the beneficiary of the policy, is viewed as a personal debt, that is to be paid to the beneficiary, with no connection to yerusha. As a side point, even if you would be one of the beneficiaries, pi shanim would not apply here, as the money would be considered “rauy” (potential funds, which were not in the possession of the deceased person at the time that they depated).
This doesn’t mean to say that you brother is obligated (as it is controversy about this) to use that money, however this is the correct thing for him to do.
Best wishes


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  1. Please explain the last paragraph, what do you mean my brother is obligated to “use” the money, and this is the “correct” thing for him to do?
    Use it for what?

    1. To pay up your mother $4000 in debts.

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