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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Default Is Estranged Wife Entitled to Life Insurance

    My question involves insurance law for the state of: Kansas/Michigan.


    My husband's father passed away recently. He was living in Kansas for over the past ten years. He and his sister reside in michigan and have their whole lives. His death was sudden and unexpected. They went to Kansas to see him and had to take him off of life support. My sister in law had power of attorney. Their father told them several months ago that they had been named the beneficiaries on his life insurance due to the fact that his wife had been estranged for a year and was living with another man in Iowa. In his desk they found paperwork with his signature stating what he wanted, but he never followed through to make the change legal. On the power of attorney paperwork he states that he disinherited his wife. Is she still entitled to the life insurance, or can they fight it since she had been living with another man for over a year?

  2. #2
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    Apr 2009
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    Default Re: Is Estranged Wife Entitled to Life Insurance

    Living with someone else doesn't enter the equation at all.

    If she's still named beneficiary, then she's the beneficiary. The POA stating that he disinherited wife is meaningless; he cannot change the beneficiary in that manner.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Is Estranged Wife Entitled to Life Insurance

    If by "they found paperwork with his signature" you mean that he executed change of beneficiary forms, you should consult a probate lawyer in the state where the insurance company is headquartered, to see if the fully executed change of beneficiary forms can be accepted after death. This is a technical legal matter, implicating choice of law issues and the terms of the insurance contract, and isn't something that we can resolve for you in a forum. I'm not promising you that you'll find good news at the end of your inquiry, as in many jurisdictions the change of beneficiary form must be mailed prior to the death of the insured person, but it's an inquiry that you (or, more correctly, the administrator of the estate) should make. Even if the document is not a change of beneficiary form you may want to make the inquiry, although the further you get from a formal directive, in proper form, the less likely it is that you're going to get good news.

    Dogmatique is correct that a grant of POA is insufficient - even if the POA grants the power to change beneficiaries, that would have had to have been completed before death, as the POA terminates upon the grantor's death.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    5,181

    Default Re: Is Estranged Wife Entitled to Life Insurance

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    If by "they found paperwork with his signature" you mean that he executed change of beneficiary forms, you should consult a probate lawyer in the state where the insurance company is headquartered, to see if the fully executed change of beneficiary forms can be accepted after death. This is a technical legal matter, implicating choice of law issues and the terms of the insurance contract, and isn't something that we can resolve for you in a forum. I'm not promising you that you'll find good news at the end of your inquiry, as in many jurisdictions the change of beneficiary form must be mailed prior to the death of the insured person, but it's an inquiry that you (or, more correctly, the administrator of the estate) should make. Even if the document is not a change of beneficiary form you may want to make the inquiry, although the further you get from a formal directive, in proper form, the less likely it is that you're going to get good news.
    I agree with this advice. My father was an insurance agent for a well known insurance company and I know of several cases where the insurance went to the "new" beneficiaries even when the paperwork had not been totally completed. Its not a guarantee that it will go that way, but its worth exploring. However I will say that in the cases I am familiar with, it wasn't just the case of paperwork completed but not submitted...In the cases I am familiar with there was extensive discussion with the agent regarding the change of beneficiaries.

    Dogmatique is correct that a grant of POA is insufficient - even if the POA grants the power to change beneficiaries, that would have had to have been completed before death, as the POA terminates upon the grantor's death.
    Agree with this as well.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    13,377

    Default Re: Is Estranged Wife Entitled to Life Insurance

    I was involved in a case where the opposite happened. The new paperwork was declined due to the medical condition of the policy holder after initial submission.
    With enough thrust, pigs fly just fine.
    You may believe that you understood what you think I said. I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Is Estranged Wife Entitled to Life Insurance

    The beneficiary question aside as it has been adequately answered, please tell me dad left a will, and that by "estranged" you mean legally divorced. If not, you may be in for some more surprises.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    16,889

    Default Re: Is Estranged Wife Entitled to Life Insurance

    I am currently involved in a case where the deceased changed the beneficiary of her life insurance and one of her pension plans but not the other. The second pension plan is going to her ex-husband and there is not a darned thing we can do about it. We've tried.

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