Tag Archives: Beneficiary

In Re Estate of Jeffrey Johnson, deceased, Laurel Christensen v. Dawn Wilson, Personal Representative, 2012COA209 (November 21, 2012)

As your life changes, so should your insurance. This case involves a marriage, life insurance, divorce, and death – in that order. Ex-wife sought life insurance proceeds on a policy to which she was named a beneficiary while married. The trial court dismissed her claims and the court of appeals affirmed. CRS 15-11-804 revokes any revocable disposition of property made to a former spouse, including designations in insurance policies. The divorce removed ex-wife as a beneficiary under the policy. Policy language that requires written notice to change beneficiaries did not abrogate the statute because: 1) regulations created an expectation the law would apply, 2) the parties’ rights are not impaired by the law, and 3) the policy does not expressly exempt automatic revocation. Similarly, the policy could not be reformed because ex-wife lacked standing upon revocation.



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Filed under Contracts, Family Law, Insurance

Eldon Van Gundy v. Quinton Van Gundy, 2012COA194 (November 8, 2012)

To trustee or not to trustee? That was the question facing a son, who was trustee for a trust benefiting his father. The trust, established in 2004, took a turn for the worse in 2008 and 2009. After a significant loss, the father sued his son, claiming he breached the trust agreement. The trial court found the son breached the agreement by purchasing stocks on margin and failing to diversify investments, which the trial court found to be “imprudent” under the uniform prudent investor rule, codified at CRS 15-1.1-102. The court of appeals reversed in part, finding it was error for the trial court to utilize the statutory rule because the trust documents expressly permitted the son to invest trust assets without regard to whether the investments would be permissible under law. Although a trust cannot contract away all fiduciary duties, it can reduce the threshold for imprudence.



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Filed under Contracts, Trusts & Estates