Life insurance is often discussed in family law cases, because it is taken into consideration when people go through divorce and determine spousal support and child support. The proceeds of a VGLI policy may be included as an item in a divorce decree, spousal and child support arrangements and equitable distribution contracts. For these reasons, it is important to understand Veterans’ Group Life Insurance in the context of divorce and family law.
Veterans’ Group Life Insurance is a program that provides term life insurance coverage to veterans. While in active service, service members are covered by SGLI (Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance). When a service member leaves active duty, he has an option of converting his SGLI policy to a VGLI policy or to a commercial policy. If a veteran chooses VGLI coverage, he will complete a beneficiary designation form asking him to name at least one individual who will receive his VGLI benefits after his death.
Under VGLI laws, an insured veteran may change a beneficiary at any time without the previous beneficiary’s consent. A change of beneficiary is valid when it complies with the insurer’s requirements for changing a beneficiary and is received before the insured’s death. Under laws controlling denied VGLI claims, the insurance is not required to inform the previous beneficiary of a subsequent beneficiary change.
In a divorce, a VGLI policy may be included in a state divorce decree and it may obligate a divorcing veteran to maintain this coverage for the benefit of his former spouse or children. Such divorce decrees restrict the insured’s actions in changing life insurance beneficiaries and may be valid in state law cases. However, VGLI claims are governed by the federal law which allows the insured veteran to change beneficiaries at any time.
Further, the federal law protects the insured’s wishes and does not allow any contradicting state law claims. Thus, even if a divorced individual has a state court order restricting him from changing beneficiaries on his VGLI policy, he may still change beneficiaries under the federal statute. Since the federal law trumps any conflicting state law, after the veteran’s death, the divorced individual’s VGLI claim may be denied by the insurance company.
If a life insurance claim is denied, all legal issues must be examined in order to protect the parties’ rights. Since every denied life insurance case is a unique set of facts and circumstances, there is no one rule that is applicable to all VGLI claim denials. A denied VGLI claim attorney will review your case and will advise you how to proceed to ensure the maximum recovery of VGLI benefits.
At our law firm, we have helped many veterans’ families and beneficiaries collect VGLI benefits. If you or someone you know has a denied life insurance claim, call our life insurance attorneys for a free consultation. Our VGLI lawyers have the dedication, knowledge and experience needed to win your case. For a case evaluation, call our VGLI attorneys at (888) 510-2212.
Call (888) 510-2212 for a free consultation.