Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance policies can be a mystery to those not familiar with this line of coverage. There are certain procedures, qualifications and legal precedence involved with Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance policies and connecting with the right resources for advice is key for getting pointed in the right direction for answers. As an experienced life insurance law firm, we have helped many clients deal with issues related to Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance policies. In addition, we attempt to educate clients as best as possible by blogging about unique scenarios in this field. Hence the reason we decided to cover the topic of ex-spouses in relation to Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance policies. There are many questions that may revolve around a scenario involving Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance policies and each situation will be unique. That being said, we thought it would be beneficial to provide some general guidelines to set the stage for how these ex-spouse situations might play out.
As discussed in previous blog articles, there are certain “defaults” that come along with Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance policies. For starters, members of the service that qualify for coverage are automatically enrolled in the coverage. Additionally, they will default in at maximum coverage. From there, group members can make changes and add or change beneficiaries. Other “default” features for the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance policies are based on the legal precedent set by the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Act. For example, the policies set up automatically for these members will sometimes be without beneficiaries in place. It is not unreasonable to think that a covered individual might die before the covered individual can correct this lack of proper documentation. As such, the default law allows spouses, children and other family members to receive the benefits. The issue addressed in this article is the impact a divorce might have on collecting on a Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance policy.
In general, life insurance policies are quite often involved in divorce proceedings. In some scenarios, the policies will be listed in the divorce decree with orders as to one spouse being required to maintain a policy and list the other as the beneficiary. However, Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance policies are not quite the same as your standard life insurance policy. Rather than being controlled by private entities and state law like standard life insurance policies, Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance policies are controlled by the federal law known as the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Act. This difference can have major implications in the outcome of any disagreement regarding payouts and rights as beneficiaries.
As for the actual outcome of a divorce situation involving a Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance policy, this will also vary depending on the beneficiary situation prior to divorce. A divorcing spouse may be required to keep an ex-spouse on as a beneficiary based on a court order, but if the ex-spouse was never listed the court may not enforce such action. In addition, the federal law controlling Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance policies will almost always preclude any state court rulings regarding payouts and trusts involved in Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance policy situation.
Overall, there is no quick answer as to whether an ex-spouse will be able to collect on a Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance policy or not as each situation varies greatly depending on the facts of the situation. That being said, if you feel like you have a claim as an ex-spouse, or are trying to deny an ex-spouse’s claim to a payout, consulting with a life insurance attorney about your particular case is the best route to go. Finding an experienced SGLI lawyer in this legal field will go miles towards reaching a successful outcome.
If you are faced with a situation similar to what has been described in this article and do not know where to turn next, consider reaching out to our firm today. Set up an initial consultation as no charge and speak with our team of legal experts. After years of experience with denied life insurance claims, we have worked with many Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance situations and can attest to our high level of success in this legal field. Do not face a murky situation on your own - call our life insurance lawyers today.