Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to helping you today.
Were you named as the beneficiary before or after the divorce?
Unless he "renamed" you as the beneficiary after the divorce or the divorce specifically stated you were to remain the beneficiary of the policy, then you would not be. A divorce removes a former spouse as the beneficiary of an insurance policy and thus it would now go to his "estate" and to his children, parents, etc.
If the divorce decree did state you are to remain the beneficiary then you shouldn't have any problem. If they don't pay promptly hire a local lawyer.
It is different than some states. Some states won't allow it even if it is in the divorce decree. NC also states that if the ex spouse "re-affirms" the beneficiary designation after the divorce it allows them to collect it.
In your case they may have asked him if he wanted to leave the beneficiary designation the same, or they may have changed the policy and he left you name on there, etc. All of those would mean you still get to collect.
There are more ways you can collect than there are that you won't collect.
The best way is to hire a local lawyer to get a copy of the paperwork. They will likely give it to him just for writing the letter. That will also allow the lawyer to evaluate the papers. NC is a little more difficult than most states because the answer can change based on everything I have already told you, plus whether the policy is provided entirely by the employer, by the language used, etc.
At some point you have to have a lawyer evaluate all of the paperwork unless they just tell you that they are going to give it to you, which is unlikely.
Yes, I am familiar with the laws of NC and most other states.
For instance, under the wording of one 1970s case, DeVane v. Travelers Insurance Company, 174 SE 2d 146 - NC: Court of Appeals 1970, which you can see at https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=2969731354758580075&q=insurance+ex-spouse+beneficiary&hl=en&as_sdt=4,34
you would likely be entitled to the money. However, there are cases since that one that state under other wording you would not.
If the divorce decree had mentioned it then it would have been easier because it would have erased any question. However, you have to get the policy and all papers looked at now to know for sure.
No, the only one that would have a copy of the policy would be the insurance company or wherever his papers are located. That's the issue here, NC has a lot of different possibilities.
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