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  1. #1
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    Aug 2019
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    Default Life Insurance Obtained Before Marriage

    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: Texas. Per Tx Fam Code 9.301, an ex-spouse is revoked as beneficiary of life insurance for the deceased unless it is stipulated in the divorce decree.
    If not stipulated in divorce decree, does this still apply if the life insurance was purchased before the marriage?
    If the policy was never updated to list the beneficiary's new status as a spouse? It was left as originally written?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    19,143

    Default Re: Life Insurance Obtained Before Marriage

    Reading the statute, it makes no difference. The only requirement is that the spouse is named as a beneficiary at the time of the divorce. Whether the policy lists that beneficiary as a spouse or not makes no difference. When the policy is obtained makes no difference. If the insured wants to maintain his (ex) spouse as beneficiary, it needs to either be in the decree or he needs to redesignate the ex after the divorce.

  3. #3
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    Jul 2018
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    Default Re: Life Insurance Obtained Before Marriage

    I think what you're saying is that, before marriage, Bob obtained a life insurance policy and designated his girlfriend Susan as beneficiary. Bob and Susan then married and then divorced. At no time was the beneficiary designation changed. All correct?

    Is Bob still alive? If he is, then he is obviously free to change the beneficiary designation unless the divorce decree prohibits him from doing so.

    If Bob is dead, then FC section 9.301 may be relevant if the executor/administrator of Bob's estate is seeking to obtain the death benefit from the policy despite Susan being named as beneficiary.

    Section 9.301(a) states as follows: "If a decree of divorce or annulment is rendered after an insured has designated the insured's spouse as a beneficiary under a life insurance policy in force at the time of rendition, a provision in the policy in favor of the insured's former spouse is not effective unless" one of the three listed conditions applies.

    In this case, the decree of divorce was rendered after Bob designated Susan as the beneficiary, and that policy was in force at the time of the rendition of the decree. However, Susan was not Bob's spouse at the time of designation, so it is unclear from the words of the statute alone whether the divorce decree would render the beneficiary designation ineffective.

    If Bob is dead and you're Susan or the executor/administrator of Bob's estate, you're going to need to have a Texas attorney do some case research to see if this issue has been resolved by the Texas courts.

  4. #4
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    Aug 2019
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    Default Re: Life Insurance Obtained Before Marriage

    pg1067 - All correct. Bob has passed away. I am Susan. I am not the executor of his estate due to the divorce, as the will stated me as the "spouse" and was not updated before he passed. (We had just reconciled and had not gotten to that yet.) His son, an adult, (from previous marriage) is now executor.
    I have spoken to 2 TX attorney's. 2 say the Life Ins company is correct, 1 says they are not because it is life insurance purchased privately (not through employer) and before marriage.
    I did not want to spend thousands of dollars fighting if I do not have any legal rights, so was trying to get an answer about that but it seems no one knows for sure.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Massachusetts
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    Default Re: Life Insurance Obtained Before Marriage

    Why do you believe it matters that the policy was purchased privately and not through the employer? There's not a word in the statute that makes any kind of distinction of that type.

  6. #6
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    Jul 2018
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    Default Re: Life Insurance Obtained Before Marriage

    Quote Quoting RDBSLM
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    pg1067 - All correct. Bob has passed away. I am Susan. I am not the executor of his estate due to the divorce, as the will stated me as the "spouse" and was not updated before he passed. (We had just reconciled and had not gotten to that yet.) His son, an adult, (from previous marriage) is now executor.
    Has the executor contacted the life insurance company and demanded payment of the policy benefit despite the beneficiary designation?


    Quote Quoting RDBSLM
    View Post
    I have spoken to 2 TX attorney's. 2 say the Life Ins company is correct, 1 says they are not because it is life insurance purchased privately (not through employer) and before marriage.
    Correct about what? Your original post didn't say anything about anyone at the life insurance company taking a position on the issue.


    Quote Quoting RDBSLM
    View Post
    I did not want to spend thousands of dollars fighting if I do not have any legal rights, so was trying to get an answer about that but it seems no one knows for sure.
    Well...as mentioned in my prior response. In my opinion, the issue is not cut and dry based solely on the language of the statute. As indicated, you need to have a Texas attorney research case law to see if this issue has been resolved by the courts. You won't be able to get anything reliable from anonymous strangers on the internet.

    Quote Quoting cbg
    View Post
    Why do you believe it matters that the policy was purchased privately and not through the employer? There's not a word in the statute that makes any kind of distinction of that type.
    The OP wrote that an attorney had given an opinion based on that fact, not that she believes that.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    Default Re: Life Insurance Obtained Before Marriage

    Ah, sorry.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Life Insurance Obtained Before Marriage

    Thank you everyone for your input. I have spoken to 2 more TX Attorney's and it has been confirmed that code 9.301 will hold despite all circumstances. The Ins Co will automatically issue a check to the contingent beneficiary after 30 days if they do not receive a court order instructing otherwise.

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