What are my rights regarding my rights as a beneficiary on my ex-husband’s life insurance policy?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What are my rights regarding my rights as a beneficiary on my ex-husband’s life insurance policy?

After my divorce, my ex-husband remarried several years later. I told him to put his new wife as beneficiary just in case. He refused and said that he was keeping it in my name and his new wife doesn’t know it exists. Sadly, he took his own life. I was talking to a lawyer we had used many times for business during our marriage and he confided to me that my ex-husband told him that he had a policy for me in case anything ever happened to him. He was there setting up his mom’s estate. What are my rights?

Asked on March 8, 2018 under Insurance Law, Arizona


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Except in certain circumstances, in most states a former spouse is not eligible to receive the proceeds of a life insurance policy on the other spouse after a divorce. The assumption is that the insured spouse forgot to change the beneficiary designation after the divorce. Again, there are exceptions to this. For specific state law, you need to consult directly with an AZ attorney; they can best advise you further.

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