Does an obligation of court ordered life insurance override subsequent policies?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Does an obligation of court ordered life insurance override subsequent policies?

In my divorce decree, my ex-husband was ordered to maintain a life insurance policy with me as irrevocable beneficiary until my children were done with college. He passed away while both children are still enrolled in college. If he did not maintained this policy, what legal action do I have if the beneficiary was changed or if there is a new policy in effect with a beneficiary other than myself?

Asked on January 10, 2019 under Family Law, Louisiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You could potentially sue his "estate" (the money, property, and other assets he left behind) for compensation equivalent to the amount of insurance proceeds you should have received. His violation of the court order would create an enforceable debt or obligation, which would become the debt or obligation of his estate.
You cannot take any action against his insurer, since they were not subject to the court order or decree in your divorce. And if he took out a policy leaving benefits to another, you cannot take or divert or claim those benefits, since the insurance policy was a contract and the insurer is legally required to pay out the benefits as contracted. All you can is sue the estate for the money.

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