Our Colorado interpleader lawyers handle all life insurance interpleader cases and beneficiary disputes.
A life insurance interpleader case is a legal action that occurs when there are conflicting claims to the proceeds of a life insurance policy. The insurance company files an interpleader complaint with the court and deposits the policy proceeds with the court, asking the court to decide who is entitled to receive the money. The insurance company then names all the potential beneficiaries as defendants in the suit and is usually discharged from further liability.
Unfortunately, life insurance claims are denied frequently in Colorado.
Colorado has some specific rules that may affect your life insurance claim if it has been denied. One of them is the time limit for suing the insurance company. You only have three years from the date they denied your claim to file a lawsuit for breach of contract or bad faith, according to the Colorado Revised Statutes. This is less than the usual six-year time limit for contract lawsuits in Colorado.
Another rule that may impact your life insurance claim in Colorado is the contestability period. This is the period of time that the insurance company can check and reject a claim based on false or incomplete information by the policyholder. The contestability period in Colorado is two years from when the policy was issued or reinstated. If the policyholder dies during this period, the insurance company may delay or reject the claim based on any errors or missing details in the application, such as age, health history, smoking status, etc. However, after the contestability period is over, the insurance company cannot reject a claim for these reasons unless they can show deliberate fraud.
If your life insurance claim has been denied in Colorado, you have the right to challenge the decision and seek legal help. You can ask for an internal review by the insurance company, an external review by the Colorado Division of Insurance, or file a lawsuit in court. A Colorado life insurance lawyer can help you assess your case and fight for your rights. You may be able to get not only the policy benefits, but also extra damages for emotional distress, attorney fees, and punitive damages if the insurance company acted in bad faith.
In Colorado, a life insurance interpleader may be filed in a district court under Rule 22 of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure. The insurance company must name all the claimants as defendants and state the reasons for their doubt as to who should be paid. The court may then issue an order to restrain the claimants from suing the insurance company or each other until the interpleader case is resolved. The court will hear and determine the case based on the evidence and arguments presented by the claimants and their lawyers. The court may also award costs and attorney fees to the prevailing party or parties.
A life insurance interpleader may be necessary in Colorado when there are disputes over the validity of the policy, the identity of the beneficiary, or the application of the slayer statute. The slayer statute is a law that prevents a person who intentionally kills another person from inheriting from or receiving any benefits from the victim’s estate or insurance policies. If the slayer statute is invoked in a life insurance claim, the court may dismiss the interpleader case and refer it to a criminal court for determination.
Call our Colorado life insurance lawyers for help.
Prudential Life Insurance interpleader Colorado. The facts of the case are as follows:
The decedent, had a life insurance policy with Prudential through his employer. The policy provided a death benefit of $330,000 and allowed the decedent to designate one or more beneficiaries. The decedent initially designated his wife, as the sole beneficiary in 2004. In 2015, the decedent and his wife divorced. The divorce decree did not mention the life insurance policy or its beneficiary designation. In 2016, the decedent submitted a change of beneficiary form to Prudential, naming his sister as the sole beneficiary. In 2017, the decedent died of a heart attack. After his death, both ladies claimed to be entitled to the death benefit. One argued that the change of beneficiary form was invalid because it was not signed by a witness or notarized, as required by Colorado law. The other argued that the change of beneficiary form was valid because it complied with the terms of the policy and Prudential’s procedures.
Prudential filed an interpleader action in federal court, seeking to deposit the death benefit with the court and have the court determine the rightful beneficiary. Prudential also sought to recover its attorney fees and costs from the interpleaded funds. The court granted Prudential’s motion for interpleader and dismissed insurer from the case. The court then considered the cross-motions for summary judgment filed by the two. The court ruled in favor of sister, finding that the change of beneficiary form was valid and effective under federal common law, which governed the interpretation of ERISA-governed plans.
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A Colorado Interpleader Case Background:
Mr. Anderson, a successful business owner, held a substantial life insurance policy with Life Insurance Company such as Midland National Life, Monumental Life or Ameritas Life. Unfortunately, he passed away unexpectedly. The life insurance policy listed two potential beneficiaries: his sister, Lisa, and his business partner, Alex.
Both Lisa and Alex claimed to be the rightful beneficiary of the life insurance proceeds. Lisa argued that Mr. Anderson had verbally expressed his intention to make her the sole beneficiary, while Alex insisted that they had a written agreement that entitled him to the proceeds as a key person in the business.
Interpleader Claim Initiation:
In light of the conflicting claims, Life Insurance Company decided to file a life insurance interpleader claim in the appropriate court. They deposited the policy proceeds with the court and submitted the necessary documentation, naming Lisa and Alex as defendants in the interpleader action.
The court would then summon Lisa and Alex to present their cases. Lisa would have the opportunity to provide any evidence supporting her claim, such as witness statements or any documentation suggesting Mr. Anderson’s verbal intent. On the other hand, Alex would present the written agreement and argue that it supersedes any verbal communication.
The court, in its role as a neutral party, would evaluate the evidence presented by both parties. The goal is to determine the rightful beneficiary of the life insurance proceeds. If the court cannot definitively decide, the funds deposited by Life Insurance Company would be distributed equitably or as determined by the court.
Life insurance interpleader claims are essential in cases of beneficiary disputes, ensuring a fair and impartial resolution while protecting the insurance company from potential legal repercussions. This hypothetical scenario illustrates the complexity and importance of such interpleader claims in navigating beneficiary conflicts.