Q: My ex-husband has life insurance and he’s paying child support. It was a second marriage for him and a first marriage for me. We’re both in our 40s and have a four-year-old daughter, Amy. He also has a previous ex-wife and three sons and they are the beneficiaries to a life insurance policy he holds. Problem is, he does not include our daughter Amy as a beneficiary on that policy and refuses to add her, saying that the court will not let him. I don’t have life insurance and can’t afford to have it. Is there anything that I can do to have him include her as a beneficiary in his life insurance? Can he add her to a different policy? Can he do something in his will?
A: Your ex-husband has life insurance for his first ex-wife and sons. They are beneficiaries of his life insurance policy. He will not place Amy, your four-year-old daughter, on this policy. He says that he is not permitted to add her so this may be a term of his divorce or separation agreement.
Right now, your ex-husband is paying child support for Amy so his estate will be liable to support Amy if he passes away. There is no need for him to add Amy to his will for this to happen. But at this point, it’s wise to discuss your concerns with your matrimonial lawyer. (Their fee may even be covered by the terms of child support you receive.)
Support obligations bind your ex-husband’s estate. You cannot compel him to change his will. This would need to be in your separation agreement or court order. Speaking with a family law lawyer may give you some further comfort and peace of mind that Amy will be taken care of through his will (through binding child support payments) without the need for life insurance.
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Ed Olkovich is a Toronto lawyer and certified specialist in Estate and Trusts Law
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