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Keller and Keller

Case Conclusion Date: 03.16.2009

Practice Area: Appeals

Outcome: Dismissal of contempt case reversed and remanded

Description: Elderly husband died following divorce and without removing much younger wife as beneficiary of insurance policies. Whole life insurance policies had been awarded to husband in divorce and evidence showed neither party believed that wife was beneficiary of any policy prior to or after divorce. Executor of husband's estate brought contempt action to force wife to sign documents giving up beneficiary rights. Trial court dismissed contempt case holding that the fact that wife was still named as beneficiary controlled result and wife would receive insurance proceeds. Husband's executor appealed. Court of Appeals reversed holding that whether marriage dissolution settlement precluded recovery by former wife as named beneficiary on policies awarded to husband in divorce turned on degree of specificity of language employed in property settlement agreement and the fact that wife remained named as the beneficiary did not control the result. Remanded for a determination by the trial court on the interpretation of the language in the property settlement agreement,

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