Would the biological children be entitled to the proceeds of a life insurance policy?

UPDATED: Nov 11, 2011

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Would the biological children be entitled to the proceeds of a life insurance policy?

A father died and had an insurance policy with his ex-wife listed as the beneficiary. Statelaw says that she’s no longer eligible so her son was the next beneficiary. He wasn’t a biological child but a stepchild. So shouldn’t the fact that they were divorced also disqualify the ex-stepson from being a beneficiary since the divorce disqualified the ex-wife? Would the biological children be entitled to anything?

Asked on November 11, 2011 under Estate Planning, Colorado


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Although I can follow your line or reasoning and see where there may be some logic to it, the fact of the matter is that the beneficiary designation may be upheld if challenged by the children.  The father knew the child was not his when he designated him as the contingent beneficiary.  In fact, there was no legal tie between them at the time of the designation so the designation was by his own free will, so to speak. There are other legal issues behind the disqualification of the wife, ones that are really separate from her son. Unless you can show some sort of coersion or undue unfluence then I think that the stepson will indeed be entitled to the money. 

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