Can a state preclude payment of like insurance benefits to an ex-spouse, even if that the deceased’s last wish?

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Can a state preclude payment of like insurance benefits to an ex-spouse, even if that the deceased’s last wish?

My deceased wife designated me, her ex-husband as her beneficiary on her life insurance policy. She filled out a change of benificary several years ago before she died. The insurance company sent me a letter asking for a copy of the decree to determine the property settlement or how the property was distributed. The divorce states that, ” Each party shall retain ownership of their respective life insurance policies in effect with their own designated beneficiaries.”

Asked on January 19, 2014 under Insurance Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The state has no interest in or control over who is paid pursuant to a life insurance policy. If you were designated by your ex-wife as her beneficiary by name, and that was never revoked, you are the beneficiary. On the other hand, if you were identified as beneficiary as "my husband," then regardless of her last wishes, you would not get the proceeds--you are no longer her husband, and so would not be the designated "my husband" beneficiary.


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