Does a wife have rights to a life insurance policy if she was not named as the beneficiary?

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Does a wife have rights to a life insurance policy if she was not named as the beneficiary?

My father recently passed and had myself and my brother as the only beneficiaries on his policy. He took the policy out 20 years ago, after our mother died. He re-married 10 years ago. Our step-mom is threatening to sue us, believing she has the right to a portion of the life insurance payout since they were married. Does she have any standing here?

Asked on January 8, 2012 under Insurance Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Possibly your step-mother could make a claim to the life insurance proceeds where you and your brother are the beneficiaries IF payment on the premiums were from community funds between her and your deceased father.

The key to unraveling the problem that you are writing about is to determine whether or not your father and the step-mother had a pre-marital agreement or a post marital agreement where their monies were separate property. If so, then the insurance policy would be yours and your brother as sole beneficiaries. I suggest that you consult with an attorney who practices in the area of Wills and trusts as well as insurance law.


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