Court Rules against Ex Wife's claim to life insurance proceeds
In Branch v. Monumental Life insurance Company, the Houston 14th Court of Appeals considered the claim of an ex-wife to life insurance proceeds. The court of appeals affirmed the Brazoria County court's ruling that she was not entitled to the proceeds.
Archie Branch bought a life insurance policy during his marriage to Loretta Branch. He named Loretta as the sole beneficiary.They were then divorced. Archie died six weeks after the divorce was final.
Loretta claimed the life insurance proceeds. The life insurance company decided not to pay when it learned of the divorce. It filed an interpleader lawsuit, naming Loretta and Archie's children as defendants and interested parties.
Loretta contended she was entitled to the proceeds as the designated beneficiary. The court noted in response:
Loretta responded that she was entitled to the proceeds because she paid the policy premiums. The court rejected this argument. The divorce decree awarded ownership of the policy to Archie. Loretta failed to prove that her circumstance met any of the exceptions set out in the Texas Family Code regarding the effect of divorce upon life insurance designations. She did not get the money. Instead it went to Archie's lawful heirs.
There are ways to address the claims of an ex spouse that may be successful in obtaining life insurance proceeds. It is extremely important to consult an experienced Texas life insurance attorney in that situation.