If your spouse passed away, you might have gotten quite shocked when finding out you weren't the person named the primary beneficiary on their life insurance policy. You probably struggle to understand why your being the current spouse may not be enough to change this fact, either. If you need to contest a beneficiary or deal with an interpleader life insurance, we can help.
Don't I Automatically Become the Life Insurance Beneficiary as a Spouse?
If your spouse has an ex, it's possible the terms of their divorce them to keep their ex or children from that union as beneficiaries. There's nothing your husband or wife could have done in this situation since they were legally obligated to maintain the policy to their benefit by order of a court.
If you're in a situation where your partner didn't name a beneficiary at all, you will need to investigate the procedures the insurer follows to handle this situation. It's not uncommon for insurance providers to automatically give the payout to the current spouse, but it's also possible that the proceeds will become part of your partner's estate.
Do My Rights as a Spouse Outweigh Those Designated as Beneficiaries?
This question isn't easily answered because many factors come into play, including:
The life insurance policy's state of issuance
The type of coverage and benefits provided
If you live in a community property state or not
If monthly premiums are current
Like most areas of law, life insurance comes with exceptions depending on specific criteria.
What If I Live in a Community Property State?
Generally, community property laws take precedence over beneficiary designations on life insurance policies in some circumstances. For example, many states recognize this coverage as marital property since money earned by both spouses likely paid for it. However, how much of the death benefit you receive also depends on several factors, and you should consult with a knowledgeable attorney about your case to learn more.
What if My Spouse Forgot to Remove Their Ex-Spouse as a Beneficiary?
Despite life insurance policies not being one-and-done estate planning products, many individuals treat them as such. Unfortunately, this means that all too often, when one passes away, the chosen beneficiaries may not be persons in their lives any longer, like an ex-spouse.
Even though numerous states have opted to pass laws automatically revoking a former husband or wife's designation as a beneficiary, this isn't a guaranteed result. For example, if they can show there was an agreement to continue the policy with their ex as the heir, there may not be anything you can do about it.
Also, these laws don't apply to all insurance products. Those controlled by federal regulations, for instance, will only pay to who is designated, regardless if it's the current spouse or not.
In a Beneficiary Dispute? Contact a Life Insurance Lawyer Right Away
Losing your spouse is painful enough without dealing with individuals claiming death benefits that should rightfully be yours. Get the representation you need from our life insurance attorneys to help protect your right to the proceeds of your loved one's coverage. Reach us online today.