Rhode Island Supreme Court upholds deceased ex-husband's actions under property settlement agreement
Posted By McIntyre Tate LLP
The Rhode Island Supreme Court recently ruled that an ex-husband who named his sister as custodial trustee of his life insurance policies did not violate the terms of their property settlement agreement. That agreement merely stated that his life insurance policy existing at the time of divorce must be maintained during the children's minority "for their benefit." After the divorce became final, the ex-husband requested that the insurance company list his sister "as custodial trustee for the benefit of my minor children." Upon his death, the ex-wife sued on behalf of the children to obtain the insurance proceeds arguing that 1) the ex-husband did not have authority to name a custodial trustee other than her and 2) the "sole purpose" of the insurance provision was to provide "an uninterrupted stream of child support payments to" her and that she was intended to control the insurance proceeds. But absent more detailed language in the agreement requiring the ex-husband to name the ex-wife as trustee, the Supreme Court found that the deceased ex-husband's conduct was proper and denied the wife relief.