Life Insurance Lawyer Pennsylvania
Whether you reside in: Bryn Mawr; Villanova; Lancaster; Main Line; Bensalem; Bethlehem; Scranton; Upper Darby; Reading; Erie; Allentown; Pittsburgh or Philadelphia; our life insurance attorneys who live and work here in Pennsylvania are here to help resolve your delayed or denied life insurance claim.
Pennsylvania Denied Life Insurance Claims Recently Settled
- Pacific Life beneficiary dispute with spouse $275,000.00
- MetLife divorce cut off ex-spouse but court order $1,000,000.00
- Jackson National Life autoerotic asphyxiation $107,400.00
- Standard Life alcohol exclusion $155,000.00
- Guaranteed Life misrepresentation application $253,700.00
- Denied life insurance claim Philadelphia $507,630.00
- North American Life sickness exclusion $148,200.00
- Transamerica Life accidental death $214,000.00
- Liberty National Life delayed claim $112,500.00
- Pennsylvania denied life insurance claim $630,000.00
- Foresters Life drug overdose death $284,100.00
- Minnesota Life felony exclusion shooting $135,000.00
- Colonial Penn Life accidental death claim $208,300.00
- Prudential Life AD&D policy denied $513,500.00
- Denied life insurance claim Pennsylvania $740,200.00
- Phoenix Life undue influence beneficiary $214,000.00
- Unum Life medical record denial of benefits $265,300.00
- Metropolitan Life interpleader lawsuit $250,000.00
- Gerber Life two exclusions resolved $302,900.00
- Continental Life spouse against ex-spouse $175,000.00
- AXA Equitable Life failure to accept premium $103,200.00
- Philadelphia denied life insurance claim $825,000.00
- Lincoln National Life natural death claim $211,750.00
- Protective Life denial drug exclusion $102,900.00
Getting a divorce? Don’t forget your life insurance policy
If you don’t make the requisite changes, your intended beneficiaries may lose out
Divorces can be particularly ugly. Both sides pay exorbitant amounts to lawyers to do things like determine alimony, fight for custody, and – importantly – to split assets. One of the assets people sometimes forget about during divorce proceedings, however, is the life insurance policy.
Most life insurance policies are obtained by couples during the good times. Each person wants to make sure that the other is provided for financially in the event of an untimely death. Almost without exception, the spouse is named as the sole beneficiary. Moreover, if the insured fails to name a beneficiary altogether, most state laws and insurance policies dictate that the spouse is first in line to receive the death payout.
Of course, when couples get divorced, most people no longer wish to have their ex-spouse receive anything upon their death. As one case out of Texas illustrates, the divorce, in and of itself, is not enough to remove an ex-spouse as a policy beneficiary.
The fairy tale gone wrong
When Jim and Linda Parsons got married, their friends were all envious. They appeared to be the perfect couple. Both were avid hang gliders, they loved to travel, and they truly seemed to enjoy each other’s company. Both were also incredibly successful. Jim was the CEO of a lucrative alcohol distribution company and Linda was the founder and President of a large fashion boutique.
As part of Jim’s executive benefit package, he received a life insurance policy worth $5 million. Despite the fact that Jim had two adult daughters from a previous marriage, Jim named his beloved wife Linda as the sole beneficiary under the policy. Linda had a similar life insurance policy that named Jim as her sole beneficiary.
Unfortunately, six years into their marriage, Linda had an affair. When Jim found out, he was livid. He immediately hired a lawyer and initiated a divorce. He instructed his lawyer to be as aggressive as possible in splitting the couple’s assets.
When all was said and done, the divorce settlement was rather favorable to Jim. Importantly, for purposes of this article, one of the divorce requirements was for Jim to change his life insurance policy’s beneficiary designation. The changes were intended to remove Linda as the policy beneficiary and to name Jim’s two daughters instead. This point was negotiated, agreed on by both parties, and ordered as part of the divorce decree by the judge.
Following the divorce, Jim tried to put Linda out of his mind. He traveled extensively, grew his business exponentially, and even started dating a new woman whom he admired very much. What Jim forgot to do, however, was to formally change the beneficiary of his life insurance policy. In fact, after the divorce, he never gave the policy another thought. The premiums were paid out of his executive stipend, which made the whole thing very easy to forget.
Nine months after the divorce was final, Jim passed away suddenly from a heart attack. No one was expecting his death and that left the family scrambling to figure out his posthumous affairs. At some point, Jim’s daughters reached out to his former divorce attorney, seeking any advice he could offer about Jim’s wishes for his estate.
Not surprisingly, the lawyer informed the two women of their father’s intent to name them as his life insurance beneficiaries. The lawyer suggested the girls submit a claim to the insurer in order to receive the payout. The daughters did just that.
Several weeks later, the daughters were shocked to receive a denial letter in the mail. The letter stated that their father’s stated beneficiary was Linda and that all policy benefits would be paid to her without delay. Everyone in Jim’s inner circle was shocked. They knew Jim had nothing but disdain for Linda at his death and that he would never want her to receive his life insurance proceeds.
Linda was likewise shocked. As far as she knew, Jim was supposed to change his beneficiary as part of the divorce settlement. While she had heard of his death, she never submitted a claim to the life insurance company because she assumed she was no longer the beneficiary. The next thing she knew, however, she received a check for $5 million in the mail.
Another ugly lawsuit
As a result of all the confusion, Jim’s daughters sued the life insurance company and Linda. They argued that the denial of their claim was wrongful. Specifically, they claimed the death benefit was intended only for them, as evidenced by the clear language of the divorce decree. They also presented ample evidence of their father’s dislike for Linda.
Linda, meanwhile, became used to the idea of a $5 million payout. She argued that Jim had almost a year to change his policy beneficiary if that had been his desire. She claimed that Jim simply never stopped loving her, which is why he kept her on as the beneficiary. From her standpoint, she was the only person who should recover anything under the policy.
The case was litigated all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States. Ultimately, that body sided with Linda. The simple truth was that Jim’s life insurance policy clearly and unequivocally named Linda as the sole beneficiary. While the divorce decree was intended to change the beneficiary, Jim (as the sole policy owner) never took a single step to make the change. That evidence, in and of itself, was enough to make the court side with Linda.
As attorneys who specialize in the denial of life insurance claims, we see this exact scenario all the time. In fact, we have successfully represented people on both sides of a case like this. If you have received the denial of a life insurance claim based on similar facts, please don’t hesitate to call us. We will confidentially evaluate your case and advise you as to your best chances for recovery. We’re here to help. Call us.