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RayAnswers, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 38285
Experience:  Texas lawyer for 30 years in Estate law
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During my divorce 3 years ago, there was a separation and

Customer Question

During my divorce 3 years ago, there was a separation and property settlement section that addressed relinquishing any and all claims and rights the we may have had, may now have, or may hereafter aquire to share in any capacity in any life insurance policy on the life of the othere. shall become owner of ea. policy and designate beneficiaries as ea. owner shall deter. whether by way of statutory allowance, heirship, etc. I get a letter just this week telling me I am the beneficiary of a term life policy on my ex's group life through his employer Goodyear. Met Life sends me all this info to complete and then I receive a registered letter today from my ex's lawyer telling me I need to sign this disclaimer of interest in property within 7 days so his insurance can go to the estate and then to his son.If I don't sign he will file a petition asking the court to enforce the provision in the separation/prop. settlement and hopes that wont be necessary. I live in Kansas and have others telling me I have a legal right to the insurance in KS even with the provision in the divorce decree. Can someone tell me if I should fill out the claim form or would I be wasting my time.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 1 year ago.

Hi and welcome to JA. I am Ray and will be the expert helping you today.

Here the lawyer would have to try and enforce this where you were divorced.It is possible they do not file here, and if they do the worst that happens is the court would likely order you to change it.It is really not in your interest to sign, maybe they are bluffing here.And I have seen situations where the ex deceases while this is going on.

You are correct that Kansas law might protect you here but if the divorce was granted elsewhere enforcement will be there. Tell them you want $500 to sign it, the legal fees are bound to be more than that.Alternatively tell them to file here and take your chances in court.I mean you likely aren't going to win but if he doesn't get this completed and dies tomorrow you would have claim here.Or maybe he pays you $500 to sign it and go away.In that situation you can have a nice weekend at the spa on his dime .

These are your options here, never hurts to ask for $500 even if you think you will loose.The lawyer will want more than that to take it back to court.

I appreciate the chance to help you tonight.Please let me know if you have more followup.Thanks again.

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 1 year ago.

If the divorce was in Kansas he could still prevail, reference..

The automatic revocation provision under Kansas law only applies to wills. This can be problematic if a deceased person listed his former spouse as beneficiary on an insurance or annuity policy during the marriage, then failed to change the designation after divorce. To address this issue, the state legislature passed a law that requires judges to include changes in beneficiary status as part of the property division aspect of the divorce and note the change in the divorce decree. This rule applies to all asset transfers that take effect upon death, including trust instruments and payable on death accounts.

Again ask for a nominal sum here $500 seems fair.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm a bit confused on your top response. We were divorced 3 years ago in Kansas. The statement I showed you is exactly how it is shown in the Separation and Property Settlement section in of the divorce decree. It instructs us that ea. policy becomes our own property and we can designate beneficiaries any way we wish. He died this year (we were divorced in 2012). He had me listed as his beneficiary on a term life policy through his work (which I cannot remember for sure but thought it was an irrevocable beneficiary designation but not absolutely sure of that). I asked if I had any legal claim since he has had numerous occasions to change it. When he was divorced number one as stated in decree worded above (he changed everything else to remove me from it but for some reason not the insurance policy), when he retired at a later date and his benefits all changed, and then probably (not sure) when he turned 60. He had moved twice since our divorce and had to contact his benefit office to change address for pension and medical insurance purposes. When he had his stroke you'd have thought it would have made sense again to have all his affairs in order too. He took out a DNR when his health was failing and again, I'd have thought that would have prompted getting your estate in order. I understand your telling me the automatic revocation provision applies to wills only, but I thought that excluded insurance claims. If your saying the law changed to include beneficiary changes status as part of the division aspect of the divorce, is the way it's worded (as I have shown in my initial question) how this new law addresses it? I'd think the new law would be a little more specific in regards ***** ***** it's stated related to requiring the beneficiary be changed at the time of the divorce and documented that it was done in the decree. It only states that he becomes sole owner of his policy and can change (does not say MUST change) beneficiaries to whomever he wants to. I guess I'm confused regarding your answer. I really don't get the first reply (when you say the only thing the courts can do is have me change it???? change what?) The second reply is a little more understandable but I guess I'm asking you if you think I have any rights to the insurance here in this state (Kansas) where he worked and we both lived and where we were divorced. There is no defined beneficiary change or form attached or included in the decree, just the overall statement you see above. It sounds like you are telling me that I really won't win this if he files a petition in court to enforce the settlement portion of the decree. Is that basically what you are saying but in a round about way. I also don't understand why I'd incur attorney fees for something his lawyer is doing to settle his estate since he didn't have a will. Why in the world would I have to pay an attorney for anything unless when he went to file a petition I decided at that point to fight it. I HAVEN'T filed a claim to the insurance at this point, the insurance company just sent me a letter asking me to complete the claim form.. I would have thought if it was legally giving me no rights to the insurance he wouldn't have even had to contact me period. The decree would have been enough (I'd have thought) that's why I sent the question in. It all sounds a bit fishy to me and I learned a long time ago to not sign anything that a court order wasn't telling me to sign.
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 1 year ago.

I am sorry didn't understand he was deceased.You should file your claim here , see if they pay. I don't think they will but you can certainly file a claim.Since it was awarded to the ex here by decree the other lawyer will likely prevail in a suit.Again you may want to ask for a nominal sum here from the lawyer to sign and go away instead of making a claim.

The other alternative is to make your claim and see if they pay here.You don't have much to loose here to see if they pay.

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 1 year ago.

I think you can file a claim here.Kansas had a bill on this specific issue SB 292 I cannot see that it passed.If it didn't you have a valid claim.The idea is that existing law only prevented you from getting bequests under a will not on like insurance or trusts and this bill was supposed to change that.

Here is an article about it and the case law that favors you..

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 1 year ago.

Yes doesn't appear it passed see legislative history and they adjourned to 2016, I think you file your claim the law is on your side here since bill didn't pass lawyer is grasping at straws.You may need a lawyer if the insurance doesn't pay to sue here.Thanks for your patience.

Since this didn't pass you can make your claim and likely they have to pay you.And you have right to sue for it here too based on the case referenced.

Thanks again.

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 1 year ago.

And you have right here to try and negotiate with them, maybe offer to split the proceeds.See if they would agree to split it.

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