Welcome to Our Blog




Nov 23 2014

Husband’s pre-divorce beneficiary change disinherits wife

Husband and Wife married in 1996, and Husband later obtained a term life-insurance policy, naming wife as the beneficiary of the $1 million death benefit.  In April 2012, after consulting with an attorney but before serving the Petition, Husband changed the beneficiary designation, naming his parents and sister instead.

This was momentous because once she was served, by statute, neither party was permitted to change any insurance beneficiaries — including life insurance beneficiaries.

When Husband died four months later while the divorce was still pending. Thereafter there was a fight between this wife and his mom & sister over the $1 million in life insurance proceeds.

Wife elected against Husband’s estate in probate court (he’d also written Wife out of his will), and sued in civil court for the life insurance proceeds.  On summary judgment, Wife cited the marital dissipation statute (Minn. Stat. 518.58, subd. 1a), and argued that Husband’s changed the beneficiary designation in contemplation of divorce, and thus Wife was entitled to be placed in the position she would have been in had the change not occurred.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the District Court ruling that the divorce action died with Husband and thus Wife can’t claim the proceeds under the divorce statutes.

Click here to read more: Nelson  v. Nelson, A14-0200 (Minn. Ct. App. Oct. 6, 2014).

Contact us

Schedule A Consultation

We Help Resolve Life’s Challenges


Click to Download the Summaries, Questionnaires, & FAQ that AFL has prepared for its clients and the public

Ready For A Fresh Start

Schedule A Consultation

To request a consultation, please fill out all fields, and we will follow up with you momentarily to set up an appointment.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Call Now Button