Life Insurance Lawyers in the Dallas and Fort Worth area will see situations on a regular basis where the person who died had a life insurance policy naming the other spouse as the beneficiary – but there was a divorce later and the policy naming the ex-spouse was never changed. What to do? This is discuss in a National Review article titled, Divorces Can Be Messy … For Life Insurers.
Divorces are often characterized as “messy” for good reason. While divorce proceedings can prove particularly challenging for the individual participants, they can also pose challenges for those adjudicating competing life insurance claims when the decedent insured’s ex-spouse, who has been designated as a policy beneficiary, claims a right to the death benefit instead of the surviving spouse, the insured’s estate or a secondary beneficiary.
Divorce-related life insurance disputes can end up before courts in litigation over the decedent insured’s estate, in litigation brought by a purported beneficiary against the insurance company, or in inter-pleader actions filed by the insurer. In an inter-pleader action, the insurance company files a petition with the court seeking an order determining, for instance, which spouse – surviving or ex – is entitled to the decedent insured’s policy proceeds following a divorce.