Life Insurance Beneficiary — Boyfriend of 2.5 years vs 2 children

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Life Insurance Beneficiary — Boyfriend of 2.5 years vs 2 children

Please help. My sister passed away from cancer and has 2 19 year old children. She was diagnosed w/ cancer in 2016, and died in Nov 2017. In this time, she changed her life insurance beneficiary to her boyfriend she was living with. Around 3 months before her death, she was on morphine and pills due to the pain of the cancer. Her boyfriend got paid 62K on the life insurance and gave her kids 5k each. I need to know if this is worth fighting for. Meaning, would the kids ever be able to get this money from him, and how much would it cost to get a lawyer?

Asked on February 7, 2018 under Estate Planning, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Someone who is not mentally competent at the time, such as due to the pain medication they were on, cannot create or change an ageement or contract, and a life insurance policy is a contract: therefore, IF you can show, by medical evidence (e.g. the testimony of doctors treating her) that she was mentally incompetent when she changed the beneficiary, you can throw that change out and recover the money paid to the boyfriend, which will instead be paid to those who should have received it under the policy prior to the change.
Showing incompetency is not an easy thing to do--there really has to be good medical evidence or doctor testimony of the incompetence. You will have to pay for the doctor/medical expert's time and testimony: this could easily be $1,000 - $3,000. A lawyer will likely cost $7,000 - $15,000, though this is just a guess: lawyers vary in how much they charge, and much depends on how hard the boyfriend fights and how long the case takes. You could be looking at from a little under $10k to almost $20k for this case, at a reasonable estimate.

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