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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 29985
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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My cousin's fiancee recently committed suicide and had a

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My cousin's fiancee recently committed suicide and had a life insurance policy for their son. My cousin read the policy and it states that the insurer will not pay out the death benefit for a suicide. I had a friend whose mother killed herself a few years ago and it was the same story, only my friend did some research and found that under Colorado law, the insurer HAS to pay the death benefit if the policy was in effect for at least a year. I have read this online as well and forwarded links to my cousin, but the insurer has told her again that they do not pay out a death benefit if the insured's cause of death was suicide. She's in a grief-stricken state and probably not in the right frame of mind to push back, but I'm wondering if it's really true that no matter what, if the insured is a Colorado resident, does the insurer HAVE to pay the death benefit even if it was a suicide, or is it dependent on the insurance company and what state they are located in?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry for your loss.

You are correct. Colo. Stat., Section 10-7-109 clearly states that suicide is not a defense to paying out a life insurance policy. The courts that have since considered this issue, dating back to the 1930s, have interpreted it to mean that a person CANNOT contract away the statute's protections. See Officer v. London Guarantee & Accident Co., 74 Colo. 217, 220 P. 499 (1923); London Guarantee & Accident Co. v. Officer,78 441, 242 P. 989 (1925); Capitol Life Ins. Co. v. Di Iullo, 98 Colo. 116, 53P.2d 1183 (1935). That's almost 100 years of precedent. The outcome could be different if your cousin's fiance didn't live in Colorado, but since he did, they have to pay even though it's a suicide, as long as they had the policy for at least 1 year.

I do understand why your cousin is distraught and not prepared to deal with any of this at the moment. The statute of limitations on breach of contract is 3 years, so she has a little time to mourn, before deciding if she wants to pursue this.

It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Thank you.

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