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Loren
Loren, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 32038
Experience:  30 years experience representing clients.
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I had a life insurance policy on my husband through my

Customer Question

I had a life insurance policy on my husband through my employer. We were married for 23 years. We divorced in April 2013. During open enrollment in October 2013 I was going to drop the policy. The benefits coordinator counseled me not to do so because we had minor children. Said I could keep the policy, so I did. It was only costing me a few dollars every week. 2014 I didn't need to make any changes to my benefits so I opted to not see the counselor at open enrollment and just let them ride as is. October 2015 I did the open enrollment via phone and once again confirmed the life insurance policy and that we were divorced. Have been paying into it continually. My ex husband died this past weekend. I contacted my benefits department who advised they would send out the paperwork. Today they call me to tell me they can't process it because we were divorced and they will just refund what I have paid in. Is that legal? I am in TN if that makes a difference. Everything I can find says as long as there were no changes to the policy it's still valid after a divorce.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Loren replied 10 months ago.

Good afternoon. I am Loren, a licensed attorney, and I look forward to assisting you. I am sorry to hear of your dilemma. I realize how frustrating this is for you and I hope to provide you information which is accurate and useful, even though it may not be the news you were hoping to get.

Unfortunately, under TN law when you divorce it creates the legal effect of voiding your ex-spouse for any policies in which you would be paid for their death.

Typically this would apply to policies owned by your husband, but it can be applied to policies owned by you, as well.

In any event, try having your attorney send them a letter demanding the benefits and see if the back down and pay them out. If they do not, take the refund, but it is worth a couple hundred dollars in legal fees to see if they will back down.

Expert:  Loren replied 10 months ago.

I realize this is probably not the answer you were hoping to receive. Also, please remember that this is not a moral judgement on my part. As a professional, however, I am sometimes placed in the position of having to deliver news which is not favorable to a customer's legal position, but accurately reflects their position under the law. I hate it, but it happens and I only ask that you not penalize me with a bad or poor rating for having to deliver less than favorable news.

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