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Estate of Albrecht v. Winter

2015 IL App (3d) 130651 (Ill. App., 2015)

Words & Phrases

Life And Disability Insurance: Beneficiaries

Trial Judge

Hon. Michael Brandt

Appellate Judge

Justice O'Brien


Ex-wife was entitled to life insurance proceeds as beneficiary of her ex-husband’s life insurance policy where he did not designate a new beneficiary before his death.

Fact Summary


In an action by decedent’s estate and his surviving former spouse challenging the trial court’s award paying the proceeds of a life insurance policy on decedent and a surviving spouse annuity to decedent’s former wife based on the trial court’s finding that the former wife waived her rights to the proceeds of the insurance policy but not the surviving spouse annuity in the property settlement, the appellate court, in considering the parties’ cross-appeal and in the absence of language sufficient to constitute a waiver of the surviving spouse’s rights in the insurance proceeds, found that the trial court erred in awarding those proceeds to her and the judgment for her was reversed; however, with respect to the provisions of the settlement agreement dealing with the surviving spouse annuity, the language listing the pension payments demonstrated an intent that decedent’s former spouse would waive any interest and that she would continue to receive the surviving spouse annuity, which would leave her with a monthly pension income nearly equal to decedent’s, and therefore, the trial court did not err in finding that she did not waive her rights to the surviving spouse annuity.