Question #149:My father passed away Oct 28 2005, he had not lived with his second wife for almost 12 years, before he passed he was sick and gave me power of attorney and told me what he wanted done with the money from his life insurance policy (which was to evenly distribute it amongst myself and my 3 other siblings.) After his death I found out that I was not on the life insurance policy as a beneficiary, but he never removed his second wife from the policy. After that much time apart are they considered divorced due to abandonment? If they are divorced what do I have to do to stop her from getting the money?

Unfortunately for you, if your father never legally divorced his 2nd wife,
she is still considered his wife .Secondly, if he told you that he wanted you and your siblings to be
the beneficiaries of his estate, you should have asked for a copy of the insurance policy and
made sure that it reflected his wishes.

This is why it is so important to review and update all documents with a qualified attorney to make sure the legal papers reflect the wishes of the testator.

Check with the insurance company to see if your father amended his beneficiaries at a later date or if a Pre- or Post- nuptial Agreement or Separation Agreement was executed between them in which she agreed not to claim any interest in his estate or insurance policy.

Good luck!

Leonard Weiner, Esq. Divorce Solutions