An Insurance Expert Witness May Help Understand Options

The divorce rate in the U.S. is about 50 percent, which means that about half of all marriages will end up in divorce at some point. The average number of years after vows are exchanged until divorce is 7.5 years.

Divorce can be simple or complicated depending on the parties involved, and marriages where there are many assets can be very complex. One asset is life insurance, and every life insurance policy has a beneficiary or beneficiaries, and this issue should be addressed during the divorce proceedings.

When a person is divorced and he or she sometimes forgets to change their beneficiary designation, and when that person dies, there will likely be a dispute.

According to CNBC: “In 2009, the Supreme Court heard a deceased man’s daughter argue that she, not his long-divorced wife, should get his retirement plan funds. Though the ex-wife had waived her claim to the funds during the divorce, the court ruled unanimously that, because the beneficiary form was never changed to remove her as sole beneficiary, she got it all.”

One might conclude that there is no recourse for surviving friends and relatives of a deceased individual who forgot to change their beneficiary designation but that is not entirely accurate. A beneficiary designation may have issues that favor a challenge to its validity, but this is most prudently done with the assistance and direction of an expert in life insurance.


Bill Hager is an expert in life insurance and life insurance beneficiary issues.  You can visit him at and he can be reached by calling his office at 561-306-5072