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Beneficiary for life ins

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sonic waves

I am in Ohio. My grandmother had purchased 3 life policies and signed 2 of them over to the funeral home for pre-payment. About 5 yrs. later, out of the blue she received a letter from the ins co stating that the ownership of the third policy had been changed to the funeral home per her request. She contacted the co. and was told there was an error and the only way to correct it was to have the funeral home sign the policy back over to her. This is what she did, but they did not supply her with a new beneficiary form and made the estate the beneficiary. To make a long story short, she is now deceased and I know that she never requested that the policy be changed. The ins co. has given me the runaround for almost a year as I have requested copies of the form where she signed it over. I was finally referred to corporate, where I was told that they had already paid the funeral home because they were never notified that the policy was hers again. After being confronted, the funeral home admitted they had the check. That is another long story. Anyway, what recourse do I have to get the ins. co. to provide me documentation showing she requested the initial change in ownership? Since my understanding is that the change was never requested (and thus there is no document that they could provide), all subsequent changes should be null and void, leaving me as the legitimate beneficiary. Also, what happens since they paid out to the funeral home who was neither the owner nor the beneficiary? Would this fall under E&O and would there be any punitive damages possible? If so, what amounts?


Senior Member
No lawyer in his or her right mind would take on, as a contingency matter, a case that seems to involve a relatively tiny sum of money (if this is a $1 million + policy that's possibly another matter) where the circumstances appear to be the result of what is at best a one time error (and what that error was and who caused it -- assuming the insured did not make the error -- it is very unclear) or perhaps some overreaching on the part of the funeral home.

I doubt you that you personally want to lay out lawyer fees and expenses up front in a hope you'll collect something big down the road on a matter like this, even if you had the resources to do so. Thus no lawyer would invest his or her time either.

The insurance company paid the claim, so there was no bad faith. If they paid it to the wrong person, they'd owe it to you, and would have to try to collect from the wrong person. If the funeral company was paid more than it should have for its services it should return the extra money, and probably will if asked. If others didn't have to pay the insurance company because the insurance company paid the bill, then ask the others who would have paiu to pay you.

Or, why not sue BOTH the funeral home and the insurance company in small claims court? BUt if you think this is a case that will make you rich, you're wrong.

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