Am I entitled to life Insurance money if I’m still designated as beneficiary on my deceased ex-husband’s policy?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Am I entitled to life Insurance money if I’m still designated as beneficiary on my deceased ex-husband’s policy?

In separation agreement, I agreed to relinquish any rights to beneficiary of life insurance policy. Ex husband has since passed away without having changed this policys beneficiary designation- meaning that I am still listed as such. Am I entitled to keep the money? He never remarried but does have a child.

Asked on April 12, 2018 under Insurance Law, South Carolina


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The general rue in most states is that in the case of a divorce where an ex-spouse is still listed on an insurance policy as the beneficiary, the contingent beneficiary listed is paid the proceeds. If no contingent beneficiary is designated then the proceeds are paid into the probate estate and distributed accordingly. My research suggests that NC holds this view. At this point, in order to confirm you can contact an NC attorney.
Right now you need to check on this with an attorney in your area; they will be able to advise you as to specific state law.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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