By: Christopher A. Pearsall, RI Divorce Lawyer*
David and Kathy entered into a Marital Settlement Agreement in their divorce after Kathy was caught with another man. In the agreement David gained ownership and control of the life insurance policy covering his life, including the right to change his beneficiary.
David's policy was for $750,000 and Kathy was designated as the beneficiary on his life insurance policy. For whatever reason, David focused on the big battle of getting through the divorce hearing itself and getting control of his life insurance policy because in the event of his death he did not want Kathy to receive the $750,000. Instead he wanted the life insurance policy monies to go to his children in the event of this death.
But David didn't do anything but take a well deserved break from all the litigation for the divorce and unfortunately he never got around to changing his life insurance beneficiary.
Seventeen days before the final judgment of divorce might have entered in his case, David had a heart attack on the golf course and died. Even though David didn't want the insurance monies to go to Kathy, David never filed the Change of Beneficiary Form. Therefore, since Kathy was the beneficiary listed on his life insurance policy at the time he died, she put in the claim and was paid $750,000.
There was nothing David's family could do. The life insurance was governed by the contract he had signed with the life insurance company. All of David's efforts to get control of his policy and the right to change the beneficiary were wasted because David failed to immediately change the beneficiary to protect the life insurance proceeds and insure they where paid to the persons he wanted them to go to in the event of his death.
We never expect to die. We never plan to die. For some reason we always think we are going to live forever or that we can put off changing the beneficiary to another day because we've done enough work for today. Yet life insurance plans for death. It is protection for that very thing and the replacement of your income in the event it happens.
In a divorce, when you get control of your life insurance policy and the right to control your beneficiary, then make the change immediately. It will take a few days to process as it is and even those few days are a risk. If you have to pay a little extra to expedite the process or the mailing, then do so. The alternative is far worse.
I'm sure that if David had realized that he was going to die, then he would have done these things and prevented the wife that cheated on him from receiving $750,000 when he died. Act on it and plan on changing your beneficiary as if you ARE going to die. It's that important.
It's worth several hundred and even several thousand dollars at times to get experienced legal help from a professional who knows the Rhode Island Family Court System.
Yet would if you could get good solid legal advice on various issues for only $150 or even $300 to prevent a travesty like this that rewards your ex-wife and leaves your children with nothing from you. It be worth such a small amount to get the help of an experienced professional, wouldn't it!
Don't leave your divorce, your life, and your legacy to chance. Call Me and Set up Your Legal Advice Session! (401) 632-6976