Is an ex-husband’s life insurance policy considered part of the ex-wife’s estate upon her passing?

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Is an ex-husband’s life insurance policy considered part of the ex-wife’s estate upon her passing?

If a husband takes out a small life insurance policy ($10,000) on his wife while they are married, and continues to pay for it to maturity after they divorced, is this policy considered part of the ex-wife’s estate upon her passing?

Asked on August 1, 2011 Oregon

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for the loss here.  The question that you have posed is not that easy to answer.  Here is why.  In order to have a life insurance person on the life of another person you have to have what is known as an insurable interest.  The husband here had one by virtue of the marriage when they were married.  However, he did not have one when she passed away (unless there was a financial dependency by the husband on the life of the wife, like if they were in a partnership or there was alimony). So the policy may or may not be valid.  Now, who is the beneficiary of the policy?  If the policy is found valid and the ex husband is the beneficiary then he gets the money.  If the policy is valid and there is no beneficiary then it will be part of the wife's estate.  Owner and beneficiary is what needs to be looked at.  Get help with this.  Good luck. 


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