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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    2

    Default Life Insurance Beneficiary Rights of an Ex-Spouse

    My question involves a marriage in the state of: Pennsylvania

    Recently I received notice I was the beneficiary of my ex wife's life insurance policy. She passed in 2002 and we were divorced in 1997 and I had no knowledge she even had a policy. I read where PA has a law that negates any benefits of an ex spouse regarding life insurance. Also, something where the Fed gov't's law (ERISA) overrides the PA state law.

    Can anyone tell me if I am entitled to the proceeds of the life policy that names me as sole beneficiary? Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    27,121

    Default Re: Life Insurance Beneficiary Rights of an Ex-Spouse

    who told you you were the beneficiary? Have you provided the insurance company with the information they require to issue the check?

    If not, just file the claim and see where it goes.

    do you know if erisa is even applicable here?

    I read where PA has a law that negates any benefits of an ex spouse regarding life insurance.
    do you have anything more than that?

    there are several situations that could affect life insurance policies. With the info listed, there is no way to determine if any apply here.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Life Insurance Beneficiary Rights of an Ex-Spouse

    Thanks jk. The insurance company called me. That's how I know I am the beneficiary. They just sent me the paperwork to complete the claim, but hung up on "relationship to insured" question.

    Don't know if erisa applies but don't think so. Don't have the policy just know the Insurance co. said I was the beneficiary, sent me the doc's but they never asked if I was married when my wife passed or divorced. Just trying to find out if it makes a difference on whether I can get the proceeds or not. I know I can just send in the info...but would like to be confident in whether it will go thru..

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    27,121

    Default Re: Life Insurance Beneficiary Rights of an Ex-Spouse

    fill out the forms, honestly of course. Let them make a decision and then, if rebuffed, figure out if the refusal is valid. Until that time, quit worrying about it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    17,167

    Default Re: Life Insurance Beneficiary Rights of an Ex-Spouse

    Was the life insurance through her employer?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: Life Insurance Beneficiary Rights of an Ex-Spouse

    Quote Quoting johnnyk3
    View Post
    Don't know if erisa applies but don't think so.
    I worked for a life ins. co. & this can sometimes get complicated depending a lot on state law.

    If not ERISA - Pa. says this: 20 Pa. C.S.A. § 6111.2. Effect of divorce on designation of beneficiaries:
    If a person domiciled in this Commonwealth at the time of his death is divorced from the bonds of matrimony after designating his spouse as beneficiary of a life insurance policy, annuity contract, pension or profit-sharing plan or other contractual arrangement providing for payments to his spouse, any designation in favor of his former spouse which was revocable by him after the divorce shall become ineffective for all purposes and shall be construed as if such former spouse had predeceased him unless it appears from the wording of the designation, a court order or a written contract between the person and such former spouse that the designation was intended to survive the divorce. Unless restrained by court order, no insurance company, pension or profit-sharing plan trustee or other obligor shall be liable for making payments to a former spouse which would have been proper in the absence of this section. Any former spouse to whom payment is made shall be answerable to anyone prejudiced by the payment.
    & even if ERISA plan - Pa. says this: In re: Estate of Sauthers, 971 A.2d 1265 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2009), the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that 20 Pa. C.S.A. § 6111.2 is not preempted by ERISA.
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