Can the Beneficiary Named on a Life Insurance Policy be Changed by a Court?
Courts are established to handle disputes among conflicting parties. It interprets the law, hear civil cases, punish violators of the law, determine the rightful claimant of an estate and act as a checker of the legislative and executive branch of the government. These as well as other minor duties are tasked under the umbrella of the court.
Can the court change the beneficiary name if the policy holder is still alive?
If the policyholder is still alive, there is no way for the court to change the beneficiary on file. The policyholder has all the right to choose who wishes to list down as his beneficiary. The court has not right to interfere with his decisions because this is a direct violation of the Bill of Rights. Nevertheless, if he is still alive but is incapacitated to act in accordance with reason then the court may intervene.
Change of beneficiary name due to divorce
If anyone wishes to change his beneficiary name on a policy because of divorce, then the simplest way to do this is to fill-out a form and sign it before submitting it to the surety company. If it involves joint accounts then both parties may need to sign the document if the other party is not in accordance to proceed with the change, then they may wish to settle it in court.
Can the court change the beneficiary name if the policy holder is incapacitated?
Normally, policyholders who are incapacitated to perform their legal duties and obligations are allowed to have an agent who will act on his or her behalf. The name of the agent is specified in a document referred to as the Power of Attorney. There are different types of power of attorney to choose from which will accommodate the need of an individual but for permanently incapacitated patients then it would be best if they grant someone a special power of attorney otherwise a springing power of attorney may also be provided.
Can the court change the beneficiary name if the policy holder is already deceased?
The Doctrine of Substantial Compliance
Another doctrine which is implemented in court which can be used in changing the name of a beneficiary is called substantial compliance. This involves disputes between the claimant and the surety company. At times, there may be slight errors that may have appeared in submitting pertinent documents for the change of beneficiary name to be effective to the surety company. According to the court, this may be implemented as long as the claimants can show beyond reason that the intention of the deceased policy holder is apparent when he decided to change the name of the beneficiary on file. Normally, proofs of fully filled out change of beneficiary name forms which were signed by the policy holder which was not mailed in time to the surety company may be sufficient grounds for the court to grant the change of name.
If in case the listed beneficiary name on record is no where to be found or is also deceased then the court may issue a certification which will list the property as part of the estate of the decedent. It does not mean that the court will decide which among the claimants will have the bulk of the estate but it will only transfer the amount to the estate. The rightful heir and division of the estate amount will be another legal matter to be handled by lawyers and the probate court.