SMLH Attorneys Joseph F. Snee, Jr., Kevin J. Mahoney, and Laura E. Bechtel recently secured $400,000.00 in life insurance proceeds for a client in a matter involving the interpretation of Federal Statute 38 USC § 1970 – the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance program.
The case involved a dispute between the divorced parents of a deceased Army National Guardsman who had executed an updated life insurance beneficiary form several months before his untimely death, naming his mother as his sole beneficiary under the policy. (Previously, the soldier had named his parents 50/50 beneficiaries.) The most recent form was found among the soldier’s personal effects and was not in the “possession” of the Army at the time of his death. As such, the soldier’s father argued that the form was unenforceable under 38 USC § 1970.
The attorneys at SMLH, representing the interests of the servicemember’s mother, advocated that 38 USC § 1970 contained no such “receipt” requirement and that the most recent form was properly executed and witnessed by the U.S. Army, and was, therefore, valid and enforceable. In a recent opinion, Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals affirmed the ruling of the Harford County Circuit Court, which had previously granted SMLH’s Motion for Summary Judgment, awarding the mother the full proceeds under the servicemember’s life insurance policy.
The SMLH attorneys were gratified that, not only was their analysis of 38 USC § 1970 affirmed, but that the servicemember’s wishes were honored by the Court and his mother received the full benefits under the policy.
SMLH attorneys are experienced in the interpretation of insurance policies and many other forms of contracts and the laws related to them. Please contact us for assistance with all types of contract and insurance disputes.