Across the country, many families are reviewing their estate planning documents and life insurance policies should the unexpected occur. However, for some, COVID-19 has taken loved ones too soon, and before any updates to important documents could occur. But when it comes to life insurance policies, what occurs when the document just doesn’t seem right? If a loved one has passed and you suspect issues within their life insurance policy, you need legal advice from a probate litigation attorney.
Why a Life Insurance Policy May Not Be Correct
While creating a policy may seem straightforward, the reality is that they are not always airtight. However, these issues often are not discovered until it is too late. Common disputes which arise during the review of a life insurance policy to the beneficiaries include:
- Change in family circumstances
- General mistake
- Poorly articulated details
A common issue that arises and leads to life insurance policies and other estate planning documents to be challenged is the presence of undue influence by relatives.
Undue Influence in Drafting a Policy: Probate Litigation
Much like challenging a will in Tennessee, challenging a life insurance policy works similarly to invalidate the document.
By challenging a policy, if the party can prove undue influence occurred by the listed beneficiary, they may be able to alter the policy’s beneficiary designations.
In order to prove undue influence, the challenger must prove “suspicious circumstances” resulted in the writing of the life insurance policy. These circumstances include:
- A confidential relationship
- The policyholder’s physical or mental ability
- The beneficiary’s active involvement in causing the designation of a beneficiary under the policy
The existence of a confidential relationship is the most important aspect, as this often means one party had control over the other. So this may mean a grandchild was caring for an ailing grandparent, who needed the grandchild for all forms of human necessity. From there, the court must prove that undue influence occurred. In the example, this may mean that the grandchild wrote the grandparent’s will while they were not competent to make any decisions on their own.
In addition, the court may review when changes occurred to a life insurance policy, such as shortly after the grandchild began caring for the grandparent.
If you suspect undue influence and are concerned that a loved one’s life insurance policy has been wrongfully altered, you need legal help.
Our Nashville Probate Litigation Attorneys Can Help Your Life Insurance Policy Needs
At Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC, our Middle Tennessee estate lawyers have helped clients challenge the validity of life insurance policies and wills in probate court. We understand what you will need for a successful claim and will work hard to make sure that justice is served.
If you believe that your loved one may have been a victim of undue influence during the planning of his/her estate, now is the time to act. Contact Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC today to schedule a consultation.