death of ex-husband

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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death of ex-husband

I am an ex-wife and my husband of 35 years died recently. We remained best of friends to the very end. He named me in his Will and pension as beneficiary. I understand now that his wishes won’t be met as the state has decided they know best and have removed me from all of this. I am wondering is that I have a small life insurance policy that I got from my employer which was a bank. I own the policy and insured him. He named me as beneficiary years ago. Will I also lose that?

Asked on September 1, 2017 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

An insurance policy is a contract--the proceeds go to whomever was indicated in/on the policy. Unless there was some evidence of wrongdoing (e.g. that you had procured the policy by fraud), the insurer should have to pay out to you.
Note, however, that if you are listed as beneficiary not only by name but as "wife" (e.g. "my wife, Jane Doe"), then the fact that you are no longer his wife may change this and deny you the benefits: listing you as "wife" or "my wife" indicates a desire to benefit you *because* you were his wife, but you longer are. Not having a status listed in a policy may provide grounds to not pay you.

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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