Regarding divorce and life insurance

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Regarding divorce and life insurance

As per our divorce decree, my ex-husband was ordered to continue payments on our life insurance policies. Unbeknownst to me, he stopped making the payments and they cancelled the policies. He then passed away about a year later. I didn’t know they cancelled the policy until he passed. I reached out to company saying that we had them for many years and why I was never notified of the cancellation and the opportunity to continue payments or cancel it myself. They said because he was the policy holder although there was a policy for me and my kids at the time.

Asked on July 24, 2019 under Insurance Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

The policy holder is the person who takes out the policy and pays for it. Based on what you have written, your late ex-husband was the legal owner of the policy and you were the beneficiary. Accordingly, he could decide to cancel the policy, which he did via non-payment. Had you discovered that he stopped paying when he was still alive, you would have had a cause of action against him for violating the court order. However, the insurance company had no legal obligation to you either then or now.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

The policy holder is the person who takes out the policy and pays for it. Based on what you have written, your late ex-husband was the legal owner of the policy and you were the beneficiary. Accordingly, he could decide to cancel the policy, which he did via non-payment. Had you discovered that he stopped paying when he was still alive, you would have had a cause of action against him for violating the court order. However, the insurance company had no legal obligation to you either then or now.


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