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Bafouts

Junior Member
My husband's father recently passed and we found out he had a life insurance policy from 1976. His two minor sons were named as beneficiaries at the time. He fathered my husband in 1980 and married his current wife in 1986. He had no biological children with his current wife and apparently he never updated the beneficiaries to include his third son or spouse. Can his wife of 30+ years contest the beneficiaries? They lived in Arizona which is a community property state, he was jointly named on all accounts and the house with his wife. We want to make sure my husband's step mother is taken care of, as the two sons he named as the beneficiaries in 1976 haven't even visited/ talked to him in 30 years or even after he died....
 


Just Blue

Senior Member
My husband's father recently passed and we found out he had a life insurance policy from 1976. His two minor sons were named as beneficiaries at the time. He fathered my husband in 1980 and married his current wife in 1986. He had no biological children with his current wife and apparently he never updated the beneficiaries to include his third son or spouse. Can his wife of 30+ years contest the beneficiaries? They lived in Arizona which is a community property state, he was jointly named on all accounts and the house with his wife. We want to make sure my husband's step mother is taken care of, as the two sons he named as the beneficiaries in 1976 haven't even visited/ talked to him in 30 years or even after he died....
The policy is not part of the estate. So ....no. The policy will go just to the beneficiaries. If the children named didn't talk/visit in all these years it seems that your FIL didn't care as he kept up on the policy payments and didn't change the beneficiaries.
 

Bafouts

Junior Member
The policy is not part of the estate. So ....no. The policy will go just to the beneficiaries. If the children named didn't talk/visit in all these years it seems that your FIL didn't care as he kept up on the policy payments and didn't change the beneficiaries.
Even though Arizona is a community property state? She was the person making the payment and from what I've read is that she can legally contest for 1/2.... I'm pretty sure my FIL thought he had updated his beneficiaries because he had talked about his policy before so i don't think it was a lack of caring lol, just lack of attention. But thanks for your input.. gives more to research I guess.
 

HRZ

Senior Member
THat may have been a valid view prior to 1999...see Estate of Agens ...which remanded part of question back to lower court ....I don't know where it wound up but certainly some more recent citations would help.

SOme of the issues revolve around if the spouse did not get at least the minimum share ....other than that sticking point, the policy goes as per contract .
 

Bafouts

Junior Member
THat may have been a valid view prior to 1999...see Estate of Agens ...which remanded part of question back to lower court ....I don't know where it wound up but certainly some more recent citations would help.

SOme of the issues revolve around if the spouse did not get at least the minimum share ....other than that sticking point, the policy goes as per contract .
I'm sorry, I'm having a hard time understanding your response.. in terms of recent articles.
 
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HRZ

Senior Member
IT needs to be an AZ decision to have much leverage in AZ ...and that's beyond me ...I sort of get the community property view but what matters is AZ court view....just think if every benificiary designation in many a state could be second guessed by a surviving spouse ?

Its not as if Dad concocted some aggresssive scheme to bypass current spouse ...Dad apparently just forgot to change things ..or never intended to change things ...
 

Bafouts

Junior Member
IT needs to be an AZ decision to have much leverage in AZ ...and that's beyond me ...I sort of get the community property view but what matters is AZ court view....just think if every benificiary designation in many a state could be second guessed by a surviving spouse ?

Its not as if Dad concocted some aggresssive scheme to bypass current spouse ...Dad apparently just forgot to change things ..or never intended to change things ...
yes, thats pretty much exactly as it seems. We will definitely be consulting a lawyer for my MIL, to see what (if anything) can really be done through the courts. I know each state has its differences on these things... appreciate the response..
 

HRZ

Senior Member
Odds are there is Az case law on point and anyone with decent legal search engine can zero in pretty darn close
 

adjusterjack

Senior Member
THat may have been a valid view prior to 1999...see Estate of Agens ...which remanded part of question back to lower court ....I don't know where it wound up but certainly some more recent citations would help.

SOme of the issues revolve around if the spouse did not get at least the minimum share ....other than that sticking point, the policy goes as per contract .
It's the Estate of Agans:

http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=10709432989021161500&q=life+insurance+non+beneficiary+spouse&hl=en&as_sdt=4,3

The court's conclusion:

We reverse the trial court's order granting the petition to include proceeds of the decedent's term life insurance policy in the probate estate for payment of statutory allowances to the surviving spouse. To the extent that Guerrero stands for the proposition that life insurance proceeds made payable to a third party can be reached to satisfy the statutory allowances when the probate estate is insufficient, it is no longer controlling. We remand for further proceedings to determine the community property rights of the surviving spouse in the insurance proceeds as set forth in Gaethje, 7 Ariz.App. 544, 441 P.2d 579.
It has been cited subsequently in cases as recent as 2012.

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=10709432989021161500&as_sdt=805&sciodt=4,3&hl=en

My husband's father recently passed and we found out he had a life insurance policy from 1976. His two minor sons were named as beneficiaries at the time. He fathered my husband in 1980 and married his current wife in 1986. He had no biological children with his current wife and apparently he never updated the beneficiaries to include his third son or spouse. Can his wife of 30+ years contest the beneficiaries? They lived in Arizona which is a community property state, he was jointly named on all accounts and the house with his wife. We want to make sure my husband's step mother is taken care of, as the two sons he named as the beneficiaries in 1976 haven't even visited/ talked to him in 30 years or even after he died....
Bafouts, read the cases instead of internet summaries and opinions.

Bottom line here is that this is something that your husband's stepmother will have to handle herself if she wants any of the life insurance money because I can guarantee that the expensive services of an attorney will be required. I doubt if the life insurance company will pay her without a court order nor will the beneficiaries just roll over and agree to give up the proceeds.
 

Bafouts

Junior Member
Bafouts, read the cases instead of internet summaries and opinions.

Bottom line here is that this is something that your husband's stepmother will have to handle herself if she wants any of the life insurance money because I can guarantee that the expensive services of an attorney will be required. I doubt if the life insurance company will pay her without a court order nor will the beneficiaries just roll over and agree to give up the proceeds.
Thank you, and yes SHE will be handling it, we are merely trying to gather information to help put her on the right path to pursue (she's 78, and has a slight language/understanding barrier). And even with the attorney's help, if its deemed she gets something... it's better than nothing.
 
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Just Blue

Senior Member
Thank you, and yes SHE will be handling it, we are merely trying to gather information to help put her on the right path to pursue (she's 78, and has a slight language/understanding barrier). And even with the attorney's help, if its deemed she gets something... it's better than nothing.
How much is this policy for ?
 

Bafouts

Junior Member
How much is this policy for ?
We are not sure yet. The insurance company wouldn't give her any information asides from the beneficiaries names until she has the death certificate (he just passed a week ago...) and I don't beleive she knows were to find the full policy paperwork in her house...or at least hasn't come across it yet. So I guess hypothetically it could turn out that its worth very little and not even worth pursuing..
 

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