Ex-Wife Loses Again in Battle for Insurance, Investment Proceeds

April 15, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A woman once married to a former Ford Motor Company employee has lost another skirmish in her ongoing legal battle for proceeds from her now deceased ex-husband's life insurance policies and a savings and stock investment plan (SSIP).

>The 6 th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by a federal judge in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan that Renee Hansmann was not entitled to the insurance and investment funds from ex-husband Irone Pavan’s estate. The lower-court instead awarded the investment and insurance proceeds – $210,883 in the life insurance policies at the time of Pavan’s June 1999 death – to Pavan’s estate in which his nephews Vincent and Paul Boscheratto, were named as beneficiaries.

>The lower court ruled that Michigan law, not ERISA, applied because the transaction occurred before the effective date of ERISA. The district court further reasoned that Michigan’s public policy required the application of Michigan law. Appeals judges agreed.

>Hansmann had argued that because Pavan had originally named her as beneficiary under the Basic Group Life Insurance Policy, that she should receive money from that policy, an Optional Life Insurance Policy and the SSIP proceeds.

>However, the lower court judge and the appeals court found that Hansmann’s legal interest in the money ended in April 1972 when her marriage to Pavan was annulled.