Legal Question in Insurance Law in Minnesota

Beneficiary of Life Insurance

My husband passed away 5/7/2003. We had signed a mortgage insurance benefit in case of his death in 1998, however the bank told me when he died in 2003, that he did not initial the paperwork & was to sick to insure when re-did our mortgage paper work in 2001 cause of the 3 yr term, same bank (our original banker had passed away due to Cancer at 36 yrs old) the bank president would not produce original paperwork to me and everything was hidden or shredded from me. Now I found a policy my husband had for years - (very small) - and I just wrote to them, they told me it was my money, however the Chicago based facility (home office) sent me a piece of paper after I sent them a certified death certificate - that his half brother's name is on as the beneficiary, which we had changed all of this in 1996 (we married in 1992) but my husband got very ill in 1996, so we re-did everything and our will's in 20001 to give everything to him if I died, and to me if he died only. Now I don't know if I will get this money or if it will go to his half brother who I don't even know if he is alive anymore? We were married from 2-14-92 until his death in 5-7-03. Our children are grown. I paid for all his funeral arrangements

Asked on 11/17/06, 7:01 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Scott Sumner Sumner Law Office, P.C.

Re: Beneficiary of Life Insurance

I have read through what you wrote a couple of times but still feel like I do not know all of the important relevant facts that a lawyer would need to know to answer your questions. It sounds like you purchased credit life insurance when you first mortgaged your house but then did not purchase credit life insurance when you remortgaged your house, due to your husband's health and the conclusion that he was not insurable. Before a lawyer could answer your questions on whether there is credit life insurance, he or she would have to see the paperwork. I will tell you that you should not take the banker's word on whether you do or do not have credit life insurance. I am aware of more than one case where the bank at first said a person did not have credit life insurance and it was later established that they did. The outcome was dependent upon the details of the paperwork filled out at the bank when the loan application was being made.

As to the second life insurance policy again the outcome will depend on the details of the paperwork. You said you and your husband changed "everything" in 1996, but did you actually fill out the paperwork to change the beneficiary on this particular insurance policy and communicate that change of beneficiary to the insurance company? Who paid the premiums? Do you have the paperwork?

Again, you need to get all the paperwork you can and take that paperwork to an attorney. The answer is all in the details.

The fact that you paid for the funeral arrangements probably doesn't help you, though if he had an estate you might have a claim against his estate for those expenses, although that would not matter much if he left everything to you in his will.

Good luck.

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Answered on 11/20/06, 10:31 am

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