Life Insurance Beneficiaries

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Life Insurance Beneficiaries

My dad passed away and going through paperwork. It seems as though he named an ex girlfriend a primary beneficiary and his son’s my brother and I were named as contingent beneficiary’s on his life insurance policy. They have not been together for 6 years and he passed away suddenly and never changed his policy to new girlfriend/significant other or made changes to remove her. Is there any way to fight this in court. I have read a lot regarding ex-spouse’s and some states offer automatic beneficiary revocation life insurance, however it does not relate to the same situation so was looking for feedback.

Asked on September 3, 2017 under Insurance Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A former girlfriend is not legally equivalent to an ex-spouse, since there has been no change in legal status (spouse is a legal status; girlfriend is not, and girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, and friends who simply happen to be girls all have the same legal rights). Therefore, if the former girlfriend was named as the main beneficiary, she will get the policy proceeds: insurance policies are contracts, and like any other contracts, are enforced according to their terms. If this contract said that she receives the money, then she will receive the money. Your father could have changed this at any time; but since he did not, she remains the beneficiary.


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