I’ve been careful to advise my clients to always double check that their beneficiaries match their estate planning intent every time they create or revise their plans. In the past, courts in Minnesota have been reluctant to change a properly executed beneficiary designation on a decedent’s policy because the law protects the intent of the person making the choice (and commonly the only written proof of that intent – the designation). Hence, attorneys give this very careful advice to their clients.
The Minnesota law that deals with this issue is Minn. Stat. § 524.2-804. See link below if you’d care to read it:
The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently overturned a District Court that ruled the ex-spouse got the proceeds from his ex-wife’s life insurance policy when she died because that’s who she had named as beneficiary – she forgot to change it! The woman’s brother, who was her Personal Representative, appealed that decision. The Court of Appeals agreed with the brother. So, it’s a little more settled now. The law has been confirmed – and now the history has been clarified.
I’m still going to insist that clients double-check. It’s simply less risky to say very clearly (and accurately!) what your wishes are. But, at least we can all rest assured that your ex- is not going to get the proceeds just because you forgot to change beneficiaries.
Below is the link to the Court of Appeals opinion:www.decorolaw.com