How to Contest Life Insurance

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Life insurance policies name beneficiaries on the policy according to the wishes of the insured or policy owner. The owner can name a person, several people, a charity or trust as the beneficiary of the life insurance proceeds. There are times when a person might wish to contest the naming of a beneficiary, such as when an ex-spouse was named as the beneficiary and never removed after the divorce. Unfortunately, if your spouse dies with his ex-spouse as the beneficiary of his life insurance policy, you have little recourse. But you might be able to contest a life insurance policy if, for example, you can show that the insured changed the beneficiary under duress or when he was not in his right mind.

Things You'll Need

  • Death certificate
  • Will/Trust
  • Medical records of decedent
  • Insurance policy

Examine the policy, and find the names of the beneficiaries from when the policy was opened.

Call the insurance company, and request the dates when the latest beneficiaries were named.

Check the dates of the beneficiary changes against any medical conditions that could have made the owner incapable of changing the beneficiaries due to mental incompetency. Dementia and mental illness might be a legitimate cause of contesting a beneficiary change.

Review any documents, letters or other proof you have that there was a fraudulent change to the beneficiaries. This could include forgeries, coercion or other illicit activities resulting in erroneous claims for death benefits.

Hire an attorney. It is extremely difficult to contest beneficiaries on life insurance, but if you have a legitimate case, you should find an attorney who can fight for you. LegalMatch.com is a great resource to locate an attorney near you. The attorney will require all the information you gathered in the previous steps, so you should gather that information before you consult with an attorney---and pay her.

Tips & Warnings

  • Review all of your policies annually to make sure you have your beneficiaries designated according to your present wishes. That way, you can avoid having your beneficiaries contested after you die.

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