UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 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.

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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