Required

Supreme Court Upholds Life Insurance Law

After a couple divorces, estate law typically assumes that neither of the ex-spouses wants the other to receive any death benefits. If someone has left a lot of property in a will that was written prior to the divorce to that now ex-spouse, probate courts will constructively rewrite the will to exclude the ex-spouse. However, life insurance operates outside of the probate court system.

The default has always been that whoever is the policy beneficiary at the time of death, gets the benefits, even if it is an ex-spouse. Some states have written laws that say ex-spouses should be excluded. The Supreme Court recently ruled on such a state law, as SCOTUSblog discusses in “Court rejects a constitutional challenge to state law on life insurance policies.”

In the case, a Minnesota man took out a life insurance policy to benefit his then spouse and children. The couple divorced but the man did not change the policy beneficiary. Minnesota later passed a law removing ex-spouses from the policies.

The man passed away and the ex-spouse sued to get the benefits, on the grounds that the law was in violation of the Constitution’s contract clause. The Supreme Court disagreed and upheld the law.

There are, of course, cases, where someone might want an ex-spouse to receive benefits. For that reason, it is important to know the laws in your state, so you can make changes to your estate plan after a divorce or any other important life event.

Reference: SCOTUSblog (June 11, 2018) “Court rejects a constitutional challenge to state law on life insurance policies.”

Hear From Our Clients
tes-prev
tes-next

I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.

- Charlotte

The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!

- Kerri

Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.

- Pierce

Josh Nelson, and his staff, have been amazingly helpful to our family. The ins and outs of nursing homes, the rules and regulations that govern Medicare and Medicaid are daunting and the folks at Nelson Elder Care Law have been informative, responsive, and above all, empathetic. I cannot emphasize enough how their service has taken a weight off of our shoulders especially during a world pandemic that has targeted nursing homes across our country. I highly recommend retaining Josh and his firm!

- Marcia

I had a simple legal question to them that I needed answered and they very helpful in giving me the information I needed. I highly recommend them and will reach out to them if I need more advice or assistance. Thank you for taking your time to just answer a couple of questions I had!

- Ben