Our client was an ex-spouse of the insured. At the time of their divorce, the insured had a MetLife life insurance policy made available to him through his employer Ford Motors Company. The final judgment of divorce stated that the insured was obligated to maintain his life insurance policy active and name our client as the sole primary beneficiary. Several years after the divorce, however, the insured changed the beneficiary and named his daughter as the main beneficiary. After the insured died and our client filed a claim, MetLife informed her that there was a competing claim from the decedent’s estate (the daughter was the Administrator of the estate) and the funds would not be distributed until the dispute is resolved. The estate claimed that because the insured and our client lived and divorced in a state with an “automatic revocation upon divorce” statute, our client’s designation as a beneficiary became void after the divorce. Our client felt that MetLife was violating her court order by not paying her claim. MetLife was prepared to file an interpleader and allow the court to resolve the dispute. After our beneficiary dispute lawyer reviewed the life insurance policy in question, we determined that the policy was controlled by Federal law which trumped the conflicting state law. We were able to negotiate a settlement in which our client received the full amount of her life insurance benefits without proceeding to litigation.
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