Articles Tagged with: Life insurance beneficiary rules

Life Insurance Beneficiary Rules for Spouses and Ex-Spouses After Divorce

Current spouses and often ex-spouses are often named life insurance beneficiaries by an insured. However, when they are not, there are circumstances under which they are still entitled to some or all of the death benefit.

If your spouse or ex-spouse died, had life insurance, and did not name you as beneficiary, you may still have a right to some or all of the death benefit depending upon the circumstances. 

If you are an ex-spouse and your life insurance claim was denied, you may still be paid. If your spouse or ex-spouse named you as beneficiary and someone is disputing that, you may still be paid.

Whether you are the named beneficiary or believe you should be, call us for your free, no-obligation case evaluation. Our life insurance claim attorneys help people in your position get paid the life insurance death benefits to which they are entitled by law. 

In Community Property States, a Spouse is Entitled to Life Insurance Regardless of Who is Named Beneficiary

Can a spouse override a beneficiary on a life insurance policy? Sometimes. It depends on where you live.

Most states are “equitable distribution” or “equitable property” states in which spouses who divorce are not automatically entitled to a 50-50 split of marital property. Instead, marital assets are divided “equitably,” meaning fair but not necessarily equal.

In the nine so-called “community property” states, each spouse is entitled to 50% of the marital property. This means that if an insured paid life insurance premiums with income earned during the marriage, their spouse is entitled to one-half of the death benefit regardless of who is named as the beneficiary on the policy.

The community property states in the U.S. are:

  • Arizona
  • California 
  • Idaho 
  • Louisiana 
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Washington 
  • Wisconsin

Alaska is called an “opt-in” state because it is an equitable property state but has a law allowing couples to choose community property rules. They do this by executing a legally-binding community property agreement or a community property trust. Couples may enter into community property agreements or trusts either before or during their marriage.

How to Exclude a Spouse as Life Insurance Beneficiary 

In community property states, spouses can execute a “property status agreement” that gives them the legal, binding ability to exclude their life insurance from marital property and effectively name someone other than their spouse as beneficiary. In this case, the spouse or former spouse of the insured will have no right to the death benefit if they are not named as beneficiary.

In equitable distribution states, a policyholder who is married can name whomever he wants as his life insurance beneficiary. However, if the insured is under court order to maintain life insurance to protect child support, spousal support or alimony, he must name his former spouse, the support obligee, as beneficiary. If he does not, his policy will likely be the subject of a beneficiary dispute in which the support obligee will likely prevail.

When it is Necessary to Keep an Ex-Spouse As Your Beneficiary

Does a Divorce Decree Override a Named Beneficiary in Life Insurance? Yes!

There are circumstances under which an insured must name their former spouse as beneficiary to their life insurance policy. This is generally done to protect spousal support or alimony, child support, or pension or retirement funds, and is ordered by a family law judge as part of the property settlement agreement during divorce proceedings. 

If the support obligor (payor) fails to maintain life insurance, the court frequently allows the support obligee (recipient) to maintain life insurance on the ex-spouse and adds the premium payment to the amount the obligor pays.

If an insured fails to comply with the court order and names someone other than the former spouse as beneficiary, the ex-spouse may have grounds for a beneficiary dispute. If you are in this position, call us:  we can help you get paid.

The Danger of Failing to Update the Beneficiary in Case of Divorce

Half of all states have “revocation-upon-divorce” statutes that automatically revoke an ex-spouse’s designation as life insurance beneficiary upon divorce. The states that have revocation-upon-divorce statutes are:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Note that a 2018 Supreme Court decision captioned Sveen v. Melin held that it is constitutional to retroactively apply a revocation-upon-divorce statute to exclude a former spouse as beneficiary, where the insured purchased the policy four years before the statute was enacted.

When Life Insurance is Ordered to Protect Support Payments or Pension/Retirement Proceeds

In states that have automatic revocation, an insured can comply with a court order to name a support obligee as beneficiary by completing a new beneficiary designation form following the divorce redesignating the former spouse as beneficiary.

It is Important to Update Your Beneficiary Designation After Divorce

Not every state has an “automatic revocation” statute. If you live in one of those states, you should still update your life insurance to reflect your current wishes. Few divorced people want their ex to receive a windfall upon their death!

How to Find Out if Your Spouse or Ex-Spouse Had Life Insurance

An insured should always inform their beneficiaries that they have a life insurance policy, but if the insured failed to do so and you suspect there was a policy in effect, do the following:

  • Ask Employers & Financial Professionals 
  • Check Old Bills and Mail for Premium Payments
  • Review Tax Returns for Evidence of Premium Payments
  • Contact Your State’s Insurance Department for Information

If Your Spouse or Ex-Spouse Had a Life Insurance Policy and You are Not the Named Beneficiary, Call Us

Our life insurance lawyers have helped spouses and ex-spouses in every state get the life insurance proceeds to which they are entitled, regardless of who is named as beneficiary. We know how the law works in your state, and we can help you, too. Contact us to schedule your free consultation today.

Contesting Life insurance Beneficiary Last-Minute Changes

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.

Life Insurance Beneficiary Rules in NY

How Does Life Insurance Work in New York State?

If you are the owner or a beneficiary of a life insurance policy issued in New York State, this guide will provide you with important information about how life insurance works there. While there are some federal laws governing life insurance nationwide, every state treats insurance laws differently, and in New York, there are things you need to know whether you are the insured or a life insurance beneficiary.

For well over two decades, the experienced life insurance attorneys at Boonswang Law have helped beneficiaries in cases where life insurance is not paying out. If you have questions about life insurance and you are a resident of New York State, contact us today to speak with an attorney. Your initial consultation is free of charge, and we don’t get paid unless we win!

Who Can Be a Life Insurance Beneficiary in New York?

People you are related to, people you are not related to, trusts, organizations, businesses, charities, your estate… you can designate any, some, or all of these as your life insurance beneficiaries in New York State. 

You can designate one or more people or entities and also designate the percentage of death benefits that will be allocated to each. You can also designate “secondary” or “contingent” beneficiaries that will receive the death benefit if the primary beneficiaries are not available.

Minor Children as Beneficiaries of Life Insurance in New York

Children under the age of 18 should not be named as beneficiaries in New York State. If they are, the court may appoint a guardian to receive and manage the funds in their name until they reach the age of majority. Technically, a child above the age of fourteen years and six months can receive death benefits, but counting on this technicality opens the door to possible dispute and litigation.

If an insured wants minor children to receive life insurance proceeds, he or she should create a trust for the benefit of those children and name the trust as beneficiary. In the alternative, the insured can name an adult custodian of the funds as beneficiary.

How Life Insurance Pays Death Benefits in New York

First, the insurance company will try to locate and pay the insured’s named beneficiary or beneficiaries. 

If the named beneficiary has died or the beneficiary designation is invalid for any reason, the insurance company will try to locate and pay the contingent or secondary beneficiary or beneficiaries

If the insurance company cannot locate either the named beneficiary or the contingent beneficiary, it will usually pay the death benefits to the estate of the insured. This is commonly provided for in the policy itself and not a matter of state law. The insurance proceeds are then subject to the will of the insured and are distributed among the heirs accordingly. 

In the case where there is no will, the insured has died “intestate” and the insurance proceeds will be distributed according to New York’s intestacy laws, which can be found here.

Will a Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation Naming a Spouse be Changed by Divorce in New York?

Yes.If the insured divorces the beneficiary of his or her policy, that beneficiary designation is automatically invalid under the New York revocation on divorce statute:

EPTL 5-1.4(a)(1) provides: 

Except as provided by the express terms of a governing instrument, a divorce .. revokes any revocable (1) disposition or appointment of property made by a divorced individual to, or for the benefit of, the former spouse, including, but not limited to, a disposition or appointment by will, by security registration in beneficiary form (TOD), by beneficiary designation in a life insurance policy …. 

If the insured wishes to retain the beneficiary designation after divorcee, he or she must reaffirm the designation of the ex-spouse as beneficiary after the divorce decree is entered. This is often desired the insured is paying spousal support or child support and is complying with family court orders to maintain life insurance to guarantee that income stream.  

ERISA Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation Rules and Ex-Spouse in New York

If a life insurance policy is acquired as a benefit of employment, it is likely governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, known as “ERISA.”  In a life insurance claim dispute governed by ERISA, this federal law will supersede New York state law.

Under ERISA, the life insurance beneficiary designation is strictly observed regardless of whether the insured divorced the beneficiary or not. In other words, despite New York state law revoking an ex-spouse’s beneficiary designation, if an insured fails to change the named beneficiary after divorce, the ex-spouse will receive the death benefit. 

The bottom line is, if an insured has a policy through work that is governed by ERISA, and does not want his or her ex-spouse to receive the death benefit, he or she must change the beneficiary designation before they die.

Can You Contest a Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation in New York?

Yes. Here are two of the most common circumstances that prompt life insurance beneficiary disputes in New York State:

ATTEMPTED BENEFICIARY CHANGE BY THE INSURED

If the insured tried to change the beneficiary of his or her policy but did not do so correctly or completely, a court in New York will look at extrinsic evidence to determine what the intent of the insured was at the time he or she tried to change the beneficiary designation.

FRAUDULENT BENEFICIARY CHANGE 

If a formerly-named beneficiary alleges that the insured was coerced of forced to change a beneficiary designation, a New York court will look at evidence and testimony about the insured’s health, state of mind, and the role of the new beneficiary in the life of the insured at the time the beneficiary change took place.

What Happens when the Insured Designates Someone as Beneficiary on the Policy, and Names Someone Else as Beneficiary in his Will?

In New York, the terms of the policy will control the outcome of this dispute, rather than New York State law or federal law. You and your attorney will have to comb through the provisions of the policy documents to determine the answer to this question, as it will vary policy-to-policy.

I am the beneficiary of a New York life insurance policy and someone is contesting the beneficiary designation, what do I do?

You should defend for beneficiary designation by securing the representation of an experienced New York life insurance beneficiary attorney. Contact us to schedule an evaluation of your case.

Life Insurance Beneficiary Laws in Florida: A Guide

How Does Life Insurance Work in Florida?

If you are the owner or a beneficiary of a life insurance policy issued in the State of Florida, this guide will provide you with important information about how life insurance works there. While there are some federal laws governing life insurance nationwide, every state has its own unique laws regarding life insurance policies issued there and Florida is no different.

The Boonswang Law firm has assisted life insurance beneficiaries to obtain the benefits they are owed for over two decades. If you have questions about life insurance and you are a  Florida resident, contact us today to speak with an attorney who concentrates in this area of law.

Who Can Be a Life Insurance Beneficiary in Florida?

People, organizations, businesses, your estate… all of these can be designated a life insurance beneficiary in Florida. Minor children cannot be beneficiaries, and if they are named as beneficiaries, the court will appoint a guardian to receive and manage the funds in their name until they reach the age of majority.

An insured wishing minor children to receive life insurance proceeds might instead create a trust for their benefit and name the trust as beneficiary, or name an adult custodian of the funds as beneficiary.

How Life Insurance Pays Death Benefits in Florida

In Florida, the insurance company will first try to locate and pay the named beneficiary on the policy. 

If the named beneficiary has died or the designation is invalid for any reason, the insurance company will try to locate the alternate beneficiary. The alternate beneficiary is also known as a “contingent beneficiary,” with the contingency being the death of the named beneficiary.

If neither the named beneficiary nor the alternate beneficiary is available, the insurance company can pay the death benefits to the estate of the insured if this is provided for in the policy itself. The proceeds are then distributed according to the instructions in the will of the insured. 

If the insured did not have a will, he or she is said to have died “intestate.” In this case, the insured’s estate, including the death benefit, will be distributed to the insured’s heirs according to Florida’s intestate succession laws, which can be found here.

Will a Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation Naming a Spouse be Changed by Divorce in Florida?

YES. This is extremely important. After divorce the designation of an ex-spouse as beneficiary of a life insurance policy is automatically invalid by operation of Florida state law. 

If the parties divorcing wish to retain the beneficiary designation, the insured must reaffirm the designation of the ex-spouse as beneficiary following the divorce. This often happens when the insured is paying spousal support or child support and the court orders the insured to maintain life insurance to guarantee that income stream.  

ERISA Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation Rules and Ex-Spouse

If a life insurance policy is acquired as a benefit of employment, it is likely governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, a federal law commonly referred to as “ERISA.”  In a life insurance claim dispute governed by ERISA, federal law will supersede Florida state law.

Under ERISA, the life insurance beneficiary designation is strictly observed. So despite Florida law invalidating an ex-spouse’s beneficiary designation, if an insured fails to change the named beneficiary after divorce, the ex-spouse will receive the death benefit under ERISA. If an insured has a policy governed by ERISA and does not want his or her ex-spouse to receive the death benefit, he or she must change the beneficiary designation before they die.

Can You Contest a Life Insurance Beneficiary in Florida?

YES. Here are two of the most common reasons why there are life insurance beneficiary disputes:

INEFFECTIVE BENEFICIARY CHANGE BY THE INSURED

If the insured attempted to change the beneficiary but did not do so correctly, a Florida court will look at extrinsic evidence to determine what the intent of the insured was at the time that she made efforts to change the beneficiary designation.

BENEFICIARY FRAUD 

If a formerly-named beneficiary alleges that the insured was coerced to change a beneficiary designation, a Florida court will look at evidence and testimony about the insured’s health, state of mind, and the role of the new beneficiary in the life of the insured at the time the beneficiary change took place.

What Happens when the Insured Designates Someone as Beneficiary on the Policy, and Names Someone Else as Beneficiary in his WIll?

If the will of the insured designates one party as beneficiary of his life insurance policy, but the policy itself names another party as beneficiary, the policy will control. You cannot override a beneficiary designation with contrary instructions in your will in Florida.

I am the beneficiary of a Florida life insurance policy and someone is contesting the beneficiary designation, what do I do?

Unfortunately, disputes do arise over who is the rightful beneficiary of a life insurance policy in Florida. You should defend, and you will need an experienced life insurance beneficiary attorney to fight back. Contact a life insurance expert to evaluate your case. 

Beneficiary Problems with Employer Group Life Insurance

Recently there has been a lot of successful litigation by beneficiaries of group life insurance policies provided by employers. In these cases, the insured either retired, quit, or was fired, or became disabled and stopped working, and then passed away.

An employer providing group life insurance to employees is required by the insurance documents to provide notice of options to convert the policy to an individual policy, and the attendant deadlines, to employees who leave for whatever reason. An employer is also required to notify a disabled employee that he or she can file an application for waiver of premiums while out of work so that group life insurance coverage continues uninterrupted.

When an employer fails to notify employees of these options, for whatever reason, and group life insurance coverage subsequently lapses, that employer can be liable to the beneficiaries for damages. Our life insurance beneficiary firm has successfully litigated many of these cases. For example, recently we were able to get a beneficiary paid in full when the insured was an employee transferred within the same company to a location in a different state, who never received the employer’s conversion notice due to an address mix-up. The policy itself provided alternately for a 31-day conversion period and a 62-day conversion period. We successfully argued that although the insured died after the 31-day period, insured died within the 62 day period.

We get to the details of the policy and all the facts surrounding a claim denial to make sure our clients get paid. Keep in mind that although this example is of a real client, we cannot guarantee these same results in any other case.

First, What Is Group Life Insurance Through Work?

Employers often offer their employees a small amount of group life insurance free of charge as part of a benefits package. Supplemental insurance that the employee pays for may also be available, for which an employee must likely have a medical exam to show insurability.

It does no harm to accept coverage under your employer’s free group life insurance policy.  However, most people in good health need not buy more of an employer’s life insurance than the free amount because they can likely buy any additional life insurance they want more economically in the open market.

What Happens to Life Insurance When You Change Jobs, Quit Your Job, Are Fired From Your Job, or Retire From Your Job?

The answer is, your employer will cease paying premiums on your behalf and the policy will eventually lapse, meaning, you will no longer be enrolled in or covered by your former employer’s group life insurance plan.

Your employer is required to inform you of your options with regard to the life insurance, as well as the deadlines for taking action on those options, when you leave your job, no matter what the reason.

How Long Does Life Insurance Last After Termination?

When you retire, quit, or otherwise leave a job where you are covered by group life insurance, if there is the option to convert all or part of your coverage to a personally-owned policy, your employer is required to notify you of it. In most cases you must exercise this option within 30 days of leaving the employer.

Employer Life Insurance Portability

Can you keep your life insurance when you retire, or after leaving a job? The answer in most cases is yes. An employee leaving his or her job usually has four choices:

  • cancel the policy,
  • port the policy to another group plan with your new employer (only if the policy is with the same insurer), or
  • convert the policy to an individual life insurance policy if the plan allows.
  • Shop for another life insurance provider

If you convert to an individual policy you and you alone as the policyowner will be responsible for paying premiums. This is how you can keep your employer life insurance after retirement. This is also how you can keep your employer life insurance after termination.

If you decide to convert your policy, usually, the conversion policies are permanent policies with cash value and level premiums for life. This may be expensive, but it’s a bargain for someone who can’t qualify for other life insurance coverage because of medical issues.

Employer Life Insurance After Disability

When an employee becomes disabled and takes a leave of absence from work or is terminated, the group life insurance premiums are waived if that employee filed an application for waiver.  The employer is required to inform the disabled employee of this and the deadline for filing the waiver application. If the waiver is granted, life insurance coverage continues uninterrupted for the disabled employee.

Problems arise when an employer fails to provide the required notices, the policy lapses because no one is paying the premiums and there is no waiver, the employee then passes away, and the employee’s beneficiaries file a claim with the insurer. The employer who failed to give the required notice is at fault.

I’m the Beneficiary of a Group Life Insurance Policy That Lapsed – What Can I Do?

You should contact a life insurance beneficiary attorney immediately to help you with your claim. An attorney can help you find out if the insured’s employer was at fault for the policy lapsing and/or for failing to provide the required notices to the insured.

For example, we recently got a beneficiary’s claim paid when the insured was out of work on short-term disability, and the employer failed to provide the insured with an application for conversion within the 31-day period required. In another case, we got the beneficiary paid when the insured was forced to leave work on long-term disability due to colon cancer, and again, the employer failed to provide notice of the right to convert to an individual policy.

While these are real-life pay-outs, of course we cannot guarantee the same result in any other matter. But our firm has seen many of these types of cases and has been successful in getting many, many beneficiaries paid. Let us help you get paid as well.

Delayed Payout? Life Insurance Companies May Owe Interest

If a life insurance company is delaying payment of your claim, you may be owed interest.

When an insurance company denies or delays your claim, they can continue investing the proceeds and accruing interest that would otherwise be in your pocket. The insurer may owe you that interest under certain circumstances.

To find out if you are entitled to interest on your delayed life insurance payout, contact our life insurance beneficiary lawyers. We have over 25 years of experience getting clients paid and getting clients interest on their delayed payout. We can tell you if you are owed interest during your free, no-obligation case evaluation.

How Long Does it Take to Receive Life Insurance Death Benefits, Usually?

Wondering how long insurance companies take to process claims, or how long does it take for a life insurance company to pay out? An uncontested claim for death benefits, where the death of the insured does not require investigation, is usually paid within 30 days. Most states require life insurance companies to respond to a claim within thirty days, whether that response is approval, denial, or a request for more information.

Insurance companies are required to tell claimants which of the reasons life insurance won’t pay out. And when life insurance does not pay promptly, you have a right to know why.

How Can a Beneficiary Get Interest on a Delayed Life Insurance Payout?

If an insurance company unreasonably delays its response to your claim for death benefits, you may be entitled to interest. Whether you are owed interest on life insurance death benefits depends upon the terms of the policy and the jurisdiction governing the policy. 

Some life insurance policies include a provision that entitles a beneficiary to interest after a specified delay in payout.

Many states have enacted statutes that grant interest to a beneficiary of a life insurance policy when an insurer unreasonably delays a claim determination. For example, this Iowa statute explains the circumstances that allow a beneficiary to collect interest and the rate at which the interest is calculated.

Some delays in payment of the death benefit are considered inherently unreasonable, including:

Delay in Life Insurance Payment after Claim has Been Approved

Occasionally, an insurer or a company’s agent will tell a beneficiary that a claim has been approved, but the insurer delays sending payment. The longer an insurer retains the funds, the longer an insurer is able to continue investing those proceeds and reaping the profits for its shareholders. Under these circumstances, a beneficiary may be entitled to interest.

Delay in Payment of Claim Because Life Insurance Company Does not Contact the Beneficiary

Frequently an insurance company has reason to know that an insured died but fails to reach out to the beneficiary of the life insurance policy. Often a beneficiary is unaware that they are named in a policy or that a life insurance policy even exists.

If an insurer has reason to know that an insured has died, for example, because they use the Social Security Death Master File to identify policyholders who have died, that insurer should notify the beneficiary promptly.

Recently, several states have brought lawsuits against insurance companies that knew of policyholder deaths but failed to notify beneficiaries, retaining the death benefits and the interest accruing on them instead. Under these circumstances, a beneficiary may be entitled to interest due to the unreasonable delay.

Why Would a Life Insurance Payout Be Delayed?

Payout may be delayed six to twelve months or longer if the insurance company must investigate because:

If you are a beneficiary to a life insurance policy and you’ve submitted your claim and all required paperwork but haven’t been paid, know that the insurance company has no incentive to pay you quickly. In fact, any delay means your payout is accruing interest and benefitting the insurance company’s shareholders.

In the past there were many examples of life insurance companies not paying claims without delay. Fortunately, laws have been enacted to incentivize insurers to pay life insurance claims promptly, and if they do not, they may have to pay you interest.

How Long Does a Life Insurance Investigation Take?

What is the typical timeline for insurance companies to investigate claims? It varies, depending upon the circumstances of the death. Beneficiaries should be sure to respond promptly to all information and documentation requests from the life insurance company.

After the insured has died, beneficiaries of the life insurance policy file a claim with the insurance company and include a copy of the death certificate with their claim, keeping at least one original death certificate for their records in the event that the life insurance company misplaces the one sent to them.

When the insurance company receives the claim form and a certified copy of the death certificate, insurers have 30 days to deny the claim, pay the claim, or ask for more information.

In some situations, insurers will need to investigate a claim and the payout will exceed 30 days. Depending on the terms of the insurance policy and the laws that govern the policy, sometimes a beneficiary will be entitled to interest that has accrued during the delay of payment.

If your claim has been pending for more than thirty days, whether you have heard from the life insurance company or not, contact our experienced life insurance beneficiary attorneys. We help beneficiaries nationwide get paid with interest when their claim has been unreasonably delayed. 

When Will Life Insurance Companies Investigate Claims?

In most cases, an insurer will either deny a claim or pay a claim within 30 days. When there is a delay in life insurance payout instead of denying or approving, it may mean that an insurer requires more time to investigate the claim. Delays will likely occur in the following situations:

Delay in Life Insurance Payout When the Insured Died by Homicide. 

When an insured is murdered, the insurance company often waits to pay any benefits until the investigation is completed. Depending on the type of policy in question (term life, whole life, or AD&D insurance), the insurance company may need to know whether the beneficiary is associated with the murder or whether the insured was engaged in a felony at the time of his or her death

Delay in Life Insurance Payout When the Insured Died in a Foreign Country.

If the insured dies while abroad, an insurance company may take longer to investigate the circumstances of the death.

Insurers always require proof of death when a claim is made. In the U.S., a death certificate is acceptable proof of death. However, customary practices, records, and technologies vary across countries and continents, and a foreign death certificate may not satisfy the insurance company. Also, to ensure a claim for overseas death is not fraudulent, an insurance company may attempt to confirm the circumstances of the insured’s death independently. Depending on where the insured died, this may extend the investigation period significantly.

Delay in Life Insurance Payout When there is a Beneficiary Dispute.

If the insurance company is notified that multiple parties might have a claim to life insurance proceeds, it will postpone paying the benefit until a rightful beneficiary is established. Often, the insurance company will not make this determination itself. The insurer may file a life insurance interpleader action, and a court will decide the lawful beneficiary.

Case Study #1: the insurance company delayed paying for over two years because the insured had a girlfriend and child and neither was named in his policy. Luckily for our client, Illinois law prevents such improper claim practices and unreasonable or vexatious delay in paying claims, and we were able to get our client paid.

Delay in Life Insurance Payout When the Insured Died Within the Contestability Period.

The contestability period lasts for two years. During this time, an insurer is authorized to investigate to look for evidence of fraud and misrepresentation in life insurance application and medical questionnaire. If the insured dies within this two-year period, a payout of benefits may be delayed while the insurer examines medical records, financial records, or other relevant evidence.

Delay in Life Insurance Payout When the Insurance Company Makes an Administrative Error.

Case Study #2: payment of our client’s claim for death benefits was delayed because the insurance company never received medical records from a doctor that the insured never visited.  

If your claim is denied, please get all the details you can about the reason for the denial: it may be something as simple as a mistake such as this preventing you from getting your life insurance payout.

Delay in Life Insurance Payout When the Insured Never Received Notice of Lapse or Termination.

Case Study #3: Our client’s claim was denied because the policy lapsed and terminated due to non-payment of premiums. We investigated and found that the insured never received the statutorily-required notices. We got our client paid.

What Can a Lawyer Do if a Life Insurance Payout is Delayed?

An experienced life insurance lawyer will be able to tell you whether the delay can be turned into approval and whether you are entitled to interest for the time of the delay. Do not rely on an insurance company to tell you that you are entitled to interest – they have no incentive to do so.

Our life insurance attorneys can demand and obtain the full death benefits you are legally entitled to. Again, your right to interest depends on the jurisdiction in which the policy was issued and the terms of the policy itself, and we help beneficiaries get paid in jurisdictions across the nation.

For more information about your rights to interest on a delayed payout of benefits, contact a trusted life insurance attorney at the Boonswang Law Firm with your questions. Your initial case evaluation is free of charge, and if we take your case, know that we don’t get paid unless you do.

Life Insurance Beneficiary Rules: Texas

If you are the owner or beneficiary of a life insurance policy issued in Texas, it is important to understand your rights under the policy as well as the specific Life Insurance Beneficiary Rules in Texas. Keep reading and contact the life insurance lawyers at the Boonswang Law Firm with any questions you may have.

Who can be a life insurance beneficiary in Texas?

Anyone can be a life insurance beneficiary, including family members, friends, organizations, corporations, and trusts. This is because life insurance is a “non-testamentary asset.” In other words, life insurance proceeds are not controlled by a will. Instead, an insurance policy is a contract between an insurance company and a policyholder, and the insurer must only pay the beneficiary listed in the contract.

In some circumstances, however, the insurer cannot (or should not) pay the named beneficiary, and the life insurance beneficiary can be contested. These circumstances are explained below.

How Life Insurance Pays the Death Benefit

The proceeds due beneficiaries are distributed in the following order:

  • Named beneficiary. The insurer will first try to pay the beneficiary whom the insured named on the policy. 
  • Alternate (or contingent) beneficiary. If the named beneficiary is not valid, the life insurance company will pay the benefit to the alternate beneficiary (also known as a contingent beneficiary) whom the insured named in the policy.
  • Insured’s estate. When no named beneficiary or alternate beneficiary is available, the insurer will typically pay the death benefit to the insured’s estate. This information will be in the policy. An estate is distributed according to the insured’s will.
  • Intestate succession laws. If the insured dies with no beneficiaries and no will, the insured’s estate (including their death benefits) will be distributed according to intestate succession laws. These laws are found in the Texas Probate Code.

Spouses and ex-spouses: How will a Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation Naming a Spouse be Changed by Divorce?

Life insurance beneficiary rules for spouses and ex-spouses vary by state. The Texas code contains a divorce revocation statute. This statute applies when an insured designates his or her spouse as beneficiary and the couple later divorces. If the couple divorces, the ex-spouse is automatically no longer the beneficiary upon divorce.

There are three (3) exceptions to this rule:

The divorce decree states that the ex-spouse must remain the beneficiary. When a couple gets divorced, the court may require one or both spouses to maintain a life insurance policy with the ex-spouse as beneficiary. This may serve as a form of alimony or child support.

The insured re-designates the ex-spouse as the beneficiary after the divorce. If the insured affirmatively re-names a former spouse as beneficiary (such as by completing a beneficiary change form provided by the insurer), the ex-spouse is entitled to the proceeds. Re-designation cannot occur simply by inaction; even if the insured does not designate a new beneficiary following divorce, the ex-spouse is not a valid beneficiary by default. Proceeds will be paid to the alternate beneficiary.

A former spouse is designated as trustee for a minor beneficiary. When the named beneficiary is a minor, the proceeds are placed in the care of an adult trustee. In many cases, a policyholder may choose a child as beneficiary. This child’s other parent may be the insured’s ex-spouse. If the child becomes entitled to the proceeds before they reach the age of majority, the former spouse may be the child’s trustee until the child reaches adulthood.

ERISA Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation Rules, Spouse and Divorce

If the life insurance policy was acquired as a benefit of employment, it is likely to be governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”). Policies under ERISA are governed by ERISA-based federal law. In a life insurance claim dispute, federal law will supercede state law.

Under ERISA the life insurance beneficiary designation is strictly observed. This means that if an ex-spouse is designated beneficiary under an ERISA-governed policy, the ex-spouse is considered the valid recipient of the death benefit (even if that would not have been the wishes of the insured.)

Life Insurance and Community Property in Texas

Texas is a community property state. In community property states, property obtained during the marriage with shared finances (“community funds”) is considered community property. (Anything obtained with strictly personal funds, such as items purchased before the marriage, are “separate property.”) Community property is owned jointly by both spouses.

In the context of life insurance, a life insurance policy purchased during a marriage is community property. A policy is community property because it is paid into with community funds and the surviving spouse will have a community property claim. There are two major types of life insurance policies, and they are each affected by community property laws in different ways:

  • Term-life policy. A term-life policy is a policy in effect for a set number of years, such as a ten-year period. If this policy is paid for by community funds, it is community property and your spouse is entitled to the proceeds. However, if your Texas term-life insurance was established during a previous marriage, this policy may be community property from a past marriage and your ex-spouse may be entitled to one-half. 
  • Whole-life policy. A whole-life policy is in effect until your death, and premiums are continuously paid. If this policy is paid for by community funds, it is community property and your spouse is entitled to the proceeds. If your whole-life policy was established during a previous marriage, your ex-spouse may be entitled to the proceeds according to the percentage of the premiums paid with community funds from your previous marriage.

A policy issued to you when you are single is your separate property and is not subject to Texas community property rules. You are not required to make your spouse the beneficiary, and your spouse does not have to approve your beneficiary designation. However, your spouse may be entitled to a percentage of the proceeds if any of the premiums are paid with community funds.

Can a Life Insurance Beneficiary be Contested?

Can a life insurance beneficiary be contested?  Yes! In limited circumstances, a person other than the designated beneficiary may have a claim to death benefits and can challenge the life insurance beneficiary designation.

Did the insured attempt to change the beneficiary?

If you have evidence that the insured attempted to change the beneficiary, you may have a valid claim. Sometimes, an insured individual might attempt to change their beneficiary, but make a mistake in the process. For example, if the insured has another child, the insured may wish to add that child as a beneficiary. The insured may complete the insurance company’s Beneficiary Change Form (available from the insurer upon request), but perhaps he forgot to sign the form.

While some states require full compliance for beneficiary designation changes to be effective, Texas follows the doctrine of “substantial compliance.” This means that if the insured took all of the reasonable steps necessary to comply with the insurance company’s beneficiary change procedure, the court will recognize the beneficiary change as valid. If you believe that your loved one substantially completed the steps to change their beneficiary, you may have a valid claim.

Was the insured coerced or influenced to change a beneficiary designation?

If you have solid evidence that your loved one was subject to undue influence or lacked the mental capacity to make a designation when he changed the beneficiary, you may have a claim. For example, if the insured was subject to threats or coercion, a beneficiary change is not valid. One common circumstance occurs when the insured is suffering from a disease such as dementia, and a dishonest relative or caretaker encourages the insured to change their beneficiary.

Any time an individual takes advantage of the insured’s vulnerable state, a beneficiary designation will not be valid if the insured did not make the change by his own free will.

I am the beneficiary of a life insurance policy and someone is contesting the beneficiary designation, what do I do?

Contesting a life insurance beneficiary is difficult. Insurance companies are careful about beneficiary disputes, and will often leave a beneficiary claim for a court to decide. If you are considering contesting a beneficiary designation, or, you are the beneficiary of a life insurance policy and someone is contesting that, you will require the guidance of experienced professionals. Contact the life insurance beneficiary attorneys at the Boonswang Law Firm if you have any questions regarding life insurance beneficiaries. We get out clients paid!

Your Guide to Life Insurance Beneficiary Disputes

What happens when multiple people claim they each are entitled to life insurance benefits after the death of the insured? How does an insurance company determine who is entitled to the benefits? If you believe you are the rightful beneficiary to a life insurance policy, you will likely need the expertise of a trusted life insurance attorney. Keep reading to find out about the different types of life insurance disputes.

Types of Life Insurance Disputes

Claims by former spouses

A common beneficiary dispute arises when an ex-spouse remains the named beneficiary on a life insurance policy. This may occur if the policyholder neglects to change the beneficiary after a divorce, or if the ex-spouse’s designation as beneficiary was part of the divorce decree. Depending on the type of policy and the state in which the policy was issued, an ex-spouse may not be entitled to the benefits despite being named beneficiary.

Policies Governed by State Law

1. Revocation on Divorce statues

Life insurance beneficiary rules after a divorce vary by state. About half of all states maintain a “revocation-on-divorce” statute, which provides that divorce effectively removes an ex-spouse as beneficiary. These statutes may be overridden if:

  • the insured re-designates their ex-spouse as beneficiary, or;
  • if the divorce decree states that an ex-spouse will remain the beneficiary.

This occurs because life insurance is occasionally used as a form of alimony or as security for any children of the marriage.

We recently got our ex-wife beneficiary client paid on her claim in Texas, a revocation-on-divorce state, when we were able to show that the insured explicitly re-designated her as beneficiary following the entrance of the divorce decree.

2. Community Property States

If no revocation-on-divorce statue exists in your jurisdiction, a current spouse may still recover if the policy was issued in a community property state. A former spouse might also recover under certain circumstances!

In community property states, all property acquired during the marriage is owned equally by both spouses – including life insurance. Under a term life policy, a current spouse is often entitled to one-half of the death benefit because the entire policy is considered community property. Under a whole life policy, the current spouse is entitled to benefits according to the percentage of premiums paid with community funds.

If the policy premiums were paid with community funds with a current or former spouse, there is an argument that he or she is entitled to half of the death benefit even if not named as beneficiary. For example, in a case where the insured named his son as sole beneficiary, we got our client paid half of the death benefit by arguing that she was with the insured for 12 years, lived with him for eight years, and was married to him for the last four years prior to his death, and premiums were paid from their joint account. Keep in mind that while this is a real-life situation, we cannot guarantee the same results in any other matter.

Policies under Federal ERISA Law

If the insured had a policy through their employer, the policy is governed by the federal Employee Retirement and Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) which states that the most recent validly-named beneficiary is the rightful claimant. This means that under ERISA, an ex-spouse who remains the designated beneficiary on a policy will receive the proceeds, regardless of the insured’s intent. However, if the insured tried to change their beneficiary designation at any point, other individuals may still have a claim on the policy.

If the insured’s policy originated under their employer and was converted to an individual policy, the rules governing beneficiary disputes vary by jurisdiction. Also, ERISA trumps or supercedes state law, so where there is a conflict ERISA will control. This happened in a case where we were able to get an ex-spouse paid in full on her claim in a revocation-on-divorce state, because ERISA controlled.

If you believe you should be a beneficiary of a policy governed by ERISA, contact a beneficiary attorney at the Boonswang Law Firm to find out if you have a claim.

Competing claims by siblings, step-siblings, or others

Another common beneficiary dispute occurs when the insured has children from multiple marriages, or marries an individual with children from another marriage. Often, an insured parent may intend to make all his or her children beneficiaries, but neglects to add children to the policy as time passes. Do these unnamed children have a claim? Probably! Also, where an insured designated “all children of the insured” rather than naming them each, an adopted child (our client) was equally entitled to the death benefit.

State laws vary, but most states will only allow a validly named beneficiary to collect life insurance proceeds. Someone other than the named beneficiary could have a claim, but only if there is clear evidence of the insured’s intention to name another beneficiary. Evidence of the insured’s intention may exist if, for example, the insured completed and mailed a beneficiary change form, but forgot to sign it. Or, if the insured completed a beneficiary change form and mailed it, and having never received notice that it was completed incorrectly, assumed it was in force.  This happened in a recent case where we were able to get his intended beneficiary paid in full.

How do insurance companies handle competing claims?

When different individuals or parties claim the right to receive the same benefits, how does an insurance company determine who is entitled to the proceeds?

If more than one party claims to be the legal beneficiary of a policy, a life insurance company will likely bring an interpleader action. This means that an insurance company will deposit the policy benefits into an account controlled by the court. If multiple parties make claims, you will need a life insurance lawyer because interpleader actions are legal actions that the court decides. Once multiple claims have been made, an insurance company will not likely make a determination about beneficiary disputes.

Interpleader actions can be resolved through  the following ways:

  • litigation (the parties will make their cases and the court will decide who is the rightful beneficiary), or;
  • settlement (the parties agree upon the amounts to which they are each entitled with the help of their attorney).

After the dispute is resolved, the life insurance benefits are distributed according to what the court or the parties decided.

How to respond to life insurance disputes

The best way to avoid a beneficiary dispute is to ensure that you and your loved ones regularly review your life insurance policy and your beneficiary designations. You should keep in touch with your issuing agent and establish a plan to periodically review your policy. Additionally, you should be sure to review your policies after important events, such as marriages, the birth of a child, divorces, or job changes.

If you are currently experiencing a beneficiary dispute, you will need a trusted life insurance lawyer. Beneficiary disputes are almost always a legal matter so it is important that you receive legal assistance as soon as possible from a lawyer for life insurance claims. Top-rated life insurance attorney Chad Boonswang and his associates have more than 25 years of experience achieving successful resolutions in beneficiary disputes. Contact the Boonswang Law Firm to learn about your potential for recovery.

 

How Does Divorce Affect the Beneficiaries of a Life Insurance Policy?

What does divorce mean for life insurance beneficiaries?

Laws that govern divorce, also known as family law, vary from state to state.  Beneficiaries of a life insurance policy may be the spouse from whom you are separating, as well as your children.  The general rule is that in many states divorce does not affect a beneficiary designation in a life insurance policy, however, in some states it does. Read on to find out how.

Life Insurance Beneficiary Rules after Divorce

Will your spouse still be a beneficiary?

If your spouse is a beneficiary some states recognize a legal doctrine called an automatic revocation by implication, which means that death benefits that the divorced parties could receive by virtue of their union is revoked.  In other words, the ex’s beneficiary designation is automatically revoked by their divorce.

If there is an express provision in the deceased’s will or otherwise that states a divorce order will not revoke rights that the spouse had in an insurance policy, then this automatic revocation is less likely to be effective. Also, federal ERISA law governing employment life insurance can supercede state law.

If you believe you should be a beneficiary of your ex’s life insurance policy but your claim was denied, contact an experienced life insurance beneficiary attorney to help you with your case.  We get our clients paid.

Will your spouse’s dependents be beneficiaries?

Some families use irrevocable beneficiaries in insurance policies so that the support recipient has funds to support dependents in case the support obligor dies. This designation is sometimes given as a part of a separation agreement or divorce settlement.

The details of such a term, if later there is controversy, may be resolved in court. In some states, if the deceased had wished the ex-spouse to remain a beneficiary after divorce, he would have to expressly rename the ex-spouse as the beneficiary after divorce.

Because in most insurance policies, the insured retains the contractual right to change beneficiaries at any time, there is no legal right on the part of the beneficiary to the proceeds.  If there is a separation agreement or prenuptial agreement in place that requires a spouse to have life insurance, only then is there a legal right in the proceeds of the policy. The life insurance divorce beneficiary can be the ex-spouse under these circumstances.

Divorce and Life Insurance Policies

If the divorce is still pending, and there are court orders prohibiting parties to convey or dispose of property, changing beneficiaries might not apply to the prohibition.  

If in the separation agreement between two parties, a term states that divorce will eliminate any right or interest the ex-spouse has to life insurance proceeds, then the failure of the deceased to designate a new beneficiary will not render the term inoperable:  the ex-spouse will still have no interest.

The contingent beneficiary to your life insurance policy is still entitled to receive proceeds in the case that the primary beneficiary (the ex-spouse) is no longer entitled.  However, if there is a manifestation of intent on the part of the insured that the contingent beneficiary should not have rights to the proceeds (for example, if there is language in the policy that the contingent beneficiary may only receive proceeds after the death of the primary beneficiary), then the contingent beneficiary may not have access to the proceeds.  In the case where there is no explicit language of preconditions, then the contingent beneficiary will be qualified to receive the proceeds after the divorce.

Questions about life insurance and divorce?

Life insurance is a legal contract and must be evaluated with your specific situation in mind. For example, we were able to get a client beneficiaries paid when the divorce decree specifically provided that the insured’s policy was to name his dependents as beneficiaries in a specified amount as long as support was being paid.

For a consultation about the legal implications of divorce on your insurance policies, call the offices of Boonswang Law at  (215) 940-8900 or visit out website for more information about life insurance beneficiary divorce.

Can you have two primary beneficiaries on a life insurance policy?

Yes. An insured should always name multiple beneficiaries on a life insurance policy.

Why do you need more than one beneficiary on your life insurance policy? Read on to find out, and if you are a beneficiary to a life insurance policy that has multiple beneficiaries, this is what you need to know about the amount of death benefit you will receive.

If you have questions about being a beneficiary when there is more than one beneficiary on a life insurance policy, call us. Our award-winning life insurance beneficiary lawyers are ready to help you get paid.

What is a Beneficiary in Life Insurance?

A beneficiary is someone who is named to receive the death benefit on a life insurance policy. Upon purchasing a life insurance policy, the insured names one or more beneficiaries who will receive the death benefit if the insured passes away while covered by the policy.

How Many Beneficiaries Can Be on a Life Insurance Policy?

There is no limit to the number of beneficiaries an insured can name on a life insurance policy. An insured has multiple options for choosing beneficiaries:

  • Primary beneficiary
  • Secondary or Contingent beneficiary
  • Co-beneficiary

What is the meaning of primary beneficiary?

The “primary beneficiary” on a life insurance policy is the first in line to receive the death benefit. Even if contingent or secondary beneficiaries are named, the primary beneficiary receives the entire death benefit if they are available to do so.

What is a contingent beneficiary designation?

A “contingent beneficiary,” also called “secondary beneficiary,” may receive the death benefit in place of the primary beneficiary if the primary beneficiary is deceased or unreachable. Listing a contingent or secondary beneficiary acts as a safeguard in case something happens to the primary beneficiary.

What is a primary and secondary beneficiary on life insurance?

The primary beneficiary is first in line to receive the death benefit. If the primary beneficiary is not available, for example, if they cannot be found or they are deceased, the secondary or contingent beneficiary is next in line to receive the death benefit.

What happens when there are two beneficiaries on a life insurance policy?

How do you split life insurance beneficiaries?

When there are multiple beneficiaries on life insurance, the life insurance company first looks to the type of beneficiary designation the insured used. A primary beneficiary is the first to receive the death benefit. If the primary beneficiary is not available for any reason, the secondary or contingent beneficiary received the death benefit.

Can You Have Two Primary Beneficiaries on Life Insurance?

Yes. If there is more than one primary beneficiary, the primary beneficiaries share the death benefit equally or in a percentage determined by the insured at the time of designation. Multiple primary beneficiaries to life insurance are also called “co-beneficiaries.”

Who You Should Never Name as Your Beneficiary to Life Insurance

Certain people should not be named directly as your beneficiary, namely, minor children and disabled people. If you want to designate a minor child or disabled person as your beneficiary, create a trust in their name and name the trust as beneficiary. This way, you avoid the involvement of the court in naming a guardian for your intended beneficiary.

You should also not name your estate as your beneficiary because then the death benefit will be subject to the claims of your creditors and may be taxable as inheritance.

Be aware also that divorce affects the life insurance beneficiary designation, depending upon where you live.

Last, avoid being general about naming beneficiaries. For example, if you designate “all of my children” as beneficiaries, who do you mean if you have children by your first marriage, step-children in your second marriage, and a natural child outside of marriage? You are potentially laying the ground for a child contesting the life insurance beneficiary on your policy if you do not designate your children by name.

Can you have multiple beneficiaries on life insurance? Can there be more than one primary beneficiary?

Yes, and it is recommended that an insured names multiple beneficiaries to ensure that someone is available to receive the death benefit.

What happens if no beneficiary is named on life insurance policy?

If the insured does not name more than one beneficiary, there is no beneficiary, and this is what happens to death benefits when a life insurance beneficiary is deceased.

Lawyer to Help with Life Insurance Beneficiary Disputes and Life Insurance Claims

Legal problems frequently arise when multiple parties claim to be the validly named beneficiary to a life insurance policy, or when the beneficiary designation is sufficiently vague to be interpreted to designate different individuals as beneficiaries.

Were you named as a beneficiary to a life insurance policy, and there are multiple beneficiaries disputing your claim? Do you think you should be a life insurance beneficiary, but the beneficiary designation is vague and being interpreted too narrowly? Was there a last-minute beneficiary change, and you want to dispute that beneficiary’s claim? Was your life insurance claim denied? Is your life insurance claim delayed?

Our life insurance beneficiary attorneys can help. Contact us for your free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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