Can an ex-spouse collect on their ex-spouse’s life insurance?

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Can an ex-spouse collect on their ex-spouse’s life insurance?

I heard recently that many states prohibit ex-spouses from getting the life insurance money, even if his/her name was on the beneficiary line. Is that true in ME?

Asked on February 12, 2019 under Insurance Law, Maine

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No, your information is wrong, or more properly, incomplete. If an ex is named personally and only as the beneficiary, it goes to that person: someone can name anyone, including an ex, as a beneficiary. But if the person were named instead as "my husband, John," or "my wife, Jane" then they might not be entitled to it because in that case, there is reason to think that the deceased left them the money only as or because they were his/her spouse...so when they are divorced and that person is no longer their spouse, that person is essentially no longer the person ("my husband" or "my wife") to whom the money was left. So how the beneficiary was named can affect if they receive it or not, but if named as a "person" (so to speak) and not as a "spouse," they will receive the benefits.


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