Ask the Lawyer
Dear Ask the Lawyer:
I have a life insurance question.
This is the Reader’s Digest version. I was married to Gloria for 15 years. We had no children. We eventually were divorced on amicable terms. Gloria remarried. I never remarried.
I was just diagnosed with a terminal medical condition. The doctors say I have six months to a year to live, maybe less.
Years ago I had a $15,000 life insurance policy. I named Gloria, my wife, as my beneficiary. Gloria promises to use the money for my funeral. I trust her.
Do I have to do anything with this life insurance policy?
The answer is yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
Assuming you are a Pennsylvania resident, Gloria will not receive the money from the life insurance policy unless you act now.
You have two choices. You must immediately file a new beneficiary form with the insurance company. That form should indicate that you are leaving the money to Gloria and put her current address on the beneficiary form as well. State in the beneficiary form that you and Gloria were previously married but now are divorced, and you are naming Gloria as beneficiary in her own right, not as former spouse. If you do not do this, Gloria has no right to receive the policy proceeds upon your passing.
Alternatively, you could leave the policy proceeds to an irrevocable funeral trust to be established with the funeral director.
If you do not change the beneficiary form, the proceeds of the policy will pass to the contingent beneficiary if you named one. If there is no contingent beneficiary, the policy proceeds will pass to the next of kin; if there is no next of kin, the policy proceeds go to your estate.Take care of this today! ••