LIFE INSURANCE BENEFICIARY?…

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LIFE INSURANCE BENEFICIARY?…

My ex-wife, when we were married, made me 50 beneficiary of her company paid life insurance policy … Neither of us remarried, but she has a daughter … She has died, and I’ve received a corporate insurance letter to place my claim … We were married for 7 years … I’m I still eligible, or does Pa. divorce law cancel me out? … If not, do I have to disclose the no fault divorce … Thanks … R Vango

Asked on August 9, 2016 under Insurance Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you were named as "her husband," you are not entitled to the proceeds, since you were not her husband when she passed away--i.e. you are not the person named as beneficiary. (Naming you as her "husband" shows that her intention was only to give you the proceeds if you were married to her when she passed.) If you fail to disclose your change in status (that is, the divorce), you will be committed a form of theft by deception (stealing by lying) and could be sued to recover the money and possibly face criminal penalties, too.
On the other hand, if you were named only by name (e.g. "John Doe") and that was never changed, then you are entitled to the proceeds, since you still that person. She could have changed that designation at any time had she chosen--e.g. she could have removed you as beneficiary. If she did not, then you are entitled to the money.


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