Press Release # 8

The Law Office of Mark S. Humphreys, P.C. is pleased to announce the settlement of a life insurance case wherein Mark was able to recover life insurance benefits for his client.

Mark’s client was the common-law wife of man who had a life insurance policy through his employer.  Texas recognizes these informal marriages in the Texas Family Code, Section 2.401.

Upon the death of the man, Mark’s client made a claim for the life insurance proceeds.  No one had been named as the beneficiary of the life insurance policy  This claim was denied.  The employer asserted there was no formal marriage and any life insurance proceeds went to the estate of the employee.  This man did not have kids and his parents were deceased.  If this man were married to Mark’s client, then all the proceeds would go to Mark’s client.

Mark and his client then gathered all the evidence they could find to prove that a common law marriage existed between the deceased and Mark’s client.  Examples of some of this evidence, was a joint bank account, proof through utility bills and drivers licenses and other forms of identity they had been living together at the same address for the previous three years, joint filing of income tax returns, joint credit cards, and statements from people who knew both of them that they thought and assumed the two were married based on their actions in front of others.  Plus, Mark’s client had been a stay-at-home wife.  As a result this was a severe financial stress to her.

There is a requirement in Texas that a common-law marriage be proven within one year of a separation.  As a result Mark began filling out papers to judicially prove the marriage relationship and Mark related this information along with the above to the insurance company.

All of this together, resulted in the life insurance company deciding to pay the benefits to Mark’s client.