Close Close

Life Health > Life Insurance

Court says ex-wife gets man's insurance money

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court says a Virginia law can’t override a federal employee’s decision to make his ex-wife, not his wife, his beneficiary in a federal insurance program.

See also: Court: Does ex- or current wife get money?

Warren Hillman made Judy Maretta beneficiary of his Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance policy before their divorce and his re-marriage to Jacqueline Hillman. He never changed his beneficiary designation, and Maretta got the money after his death.

The second wife sued, but the Virginia Supreme Court said the first wife gets the money since her name was on the form.

Virginia law revokes a beneficiary designation in favor of the current spouse. But Maretta argued it was pre-empted by federal law saying named beneficiaries get the money.

More on this topic

The high court agreed in a unanimous judgment.

For more on estate planning, see:

4 estate planning concerns for clients with vacation homes

Endangered trusts: Bring them up with clients now

5 ways to help middle-class clients with estate planning