One of the first questions I ask a potential client with a life insurance dispute is whether or not the insured obtained the policy through their employer. This helps me determine whether state or federal law applies to the dispute. This is crucial because the particular federal law that governs employee benefits, ERISA, preempts most state law rights and remedies. It also generally determines the forum where the dispute will be heard and if a jury will be involved in deciding the case. ERISA typically applies when an employee obtains life insurance through an employer, even when the employer may […]
Texas Probate Litigation will be five years old in March. While I understand that estate, trust, and life insurance disputes are not topics that make for compelling reading for the average (sane) person, for those needing help in such situations, obtaining information is very important. In 2012, I had the pleasure of representing some very fine people in need of help. From all the way down in Colombia, to Houston, Austin, Waco, Dallas, Fort Worth, and all the way up to Minnesota. Most of their cases were resolved during the discovery stage, with one will contest settled just before trial. If 2012 was different […]
The Dallas Bar Association has published an article I wrote in the November edition of its Headnotes magazine. The article, entitled “Recognizing Life Insurance Beneficiary Disputes,” can be found at page 15 of this link.
What happens if someone pays life insurance premiums for decades, dies, but the beneficiary doesn’t make a claim? Too often, the insurance company gets a windfall. Certainly, that is the exception rather than the rule, but it happens often enough due to a variety of circumstances. In this age of computerization and digital records, insurance companies should be in position to periodically cross references death records with databases of policy holders. That is exactly what New York and other states are now urging. The Wall Street Journal summarizes the issue: Under a typical insurance contract, a beneficiary is expected to […]