While almost any life insurance policyholder has the power to change their beneficiary designation at any time, a last-minute beneficiary change may indicate fraud, duress, or lack of competence. That the beneficiary change was made shortly before the death of the insured should raise suspicions that the new beneficiary may have made the change, the new beneficiary may have pressured the insured into making the change, or the insured did not understand what they were signing due to Alzheimer’s or dementia.
This is a horrible situation for the intended beneficiary or beneficiaries because you will have to fight an uphill battle to show that the beneficiary designation was changed due to fraud, duress, coercion, or lack of competence. Our life insurance claim attorneys have helped many families get to the bottom of a last-minute beneficiary change and prove that the change is invalid.
Let our life insurance lawyers help you get paid the benefits that the insured always intended that you receive, not someone else. Contact us to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation. We will represent you on a contingent basis, meaning we do not get paid unless you do. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
How Our Life Insurance Attorneys Contest a Last-Minute Beneficiary Designation
We’ve seen fraudulent beneficiary changes all too often. A frail elderly person is convinced to hand over power over finances and other decision-making to a new love interest, a caretaker, or a relative who then changes the life insurance beneficiary to themselves. We have also had cases where the insured was susceptible to coercion and was manipulated into making the beneficiary change.
You want to challenge a last-minute beneficiary designation change. Our life insurance lawyers can help you. First, know that every life insurance company does things differently. Next, know that state law governing these matters varies. For example, the life insurance beneficiary rules in NY differ from the life insurance beneficiary rules in Florida, the life insurance beneficiary rules in Texas, and the life insurance beneficiary rules in California.
Our life insurance beneficiary lawyers have helped beneficiaries of life insurance policies across the country get paid, and we can help you too.
Our Life Insurance Lawyers Find Witnesses to the Beneficiary Change
Most beneficiary designation changes are required to be witnessed. We investigate to see if this change was indeed witnessed.
If not, the change is invalid. If so, we can then depose those witnesses and get information under oath about the circumstances surrounding the change.
Our Life Insurance Legal Team Inspects the Beneficiary Change Forms
Life insurance companies have their own forms, procedures, and requirements for making a beneficiary change. If a beneficiary designation form was completed incorrectly or contained a mistake, that can invalidate the change. If the requirements were not met or the insured did not follow the procedure in submitting the last-minute beneficiary change, that can also invalidate the change.
Common problems that invalidate the insured’s beneficiary change include:
- Mistakes on the beneficiary change forms;
- Misspelling of a beneficiary’s name or other errors in personal information;
- Beneficiary change forms not witnessed or notarized;
- Beneficiary change forms not sent to the correct address;
- Beneficiary change forms not received by the life insurance company before the insured’s death.
Our Life Insurance Attorneys Represent You in the Interpleader
An “interpleader” is a legal action that is initiated by the life insurance company when the new beneficiary and the removed beneficiary file a claim for the same death benefits, and the removed beneficiary challenges the change in designation.
The purpose of an interpleader is to determine who is the rightful beneficiary, and that is why an interpleader is commonly called a “life insurance beneficiary dispute.”
Both the new beneficiary and the removed beneficiary should have experienced life insurance beneficiaries representing them in the interpleader. The law is nuanced, and it can be difficult to prove that the insured did not have the requisite competence to change beneficiaries or that the insured was under duress or threatened or coerced to make the change.
Revocable vs. Irrevocable Life Insurance Beneficiaries
Most policyholders have a “revocable” beneficiary designation, which means they have the power to change their beneficiary designation at will and at any time. The only policyholders who are unable to change their beneficiary designation are those under a court order or an “irrevocable” beneficiary designation.
For example, as part of the property settlement agreement between divorcing parties, a family law judge might order that the support obligor maintain life insurance and name the support obligees as beneficiaries in order to guarantee that income stream. In some cases, the judge will order that the insured designate the support obligees as “irrevocable beneficiaries,” meaning that the obligor cannot “revoke” or change the beneficiary designation.
If the insured changed beneficiaries at the last minute and one of these circumstances applies, our life insurance lawyers can likely have that designation overturned.
Contact Our Life Insurance Attorneys Today for Your Free Consultation Regarding the Last-Minute Beneficiary Change
Are you considering contesting a life insurance beneficiary designation? Are you defending in a beneficiary dispute?
Our life insurance beneficiary lawyers have helped clients across the nation recover millions of dollars in death benefits to date. Let us help you. Whether you are the removed beneficiary or the new beneficiary, we will fight vigorously for your right to the death benefits. Contact us today.