Sued in an interpleader lawsuit?
Interpleader lawsuits are filed when life insurance companies cannot safely determine who should receive death benefits. If the company pays out benefits to one person, and it's later determined that they should have paid a different person, they can end up having to pay the same claim twice. In order to prevent this kind of double liability, insurance companies would rather have a court decide who should receive the death proceeds when disputes arise.
Most interpleader lawsuits are filed when competing claims are submitted after a person's death, and both claimant's have a reasonable argument as to why the claim should not be paid to the other claimant. For example, one person may seek the death benefits by virtue of being the listed beneficiary, while the other claimant may argue that the document changing the beneficiary was coerced or forged. Depending on the facts of the case, either claimant could be correct. So, rather than risk guessing wrong, the insurance company will deposit all of the death benefits with the registry of a court and force the competing claimants to fight it out before a judge decides who receives the money.
Other times, life insurance companies discover legal technicalities that make determining the correct beneficiary a question of law. For example, if a beneficiary of a life insurance policy is not ruled out as a suspect in the death of the insured, the company cannot pay that person without risking the possibility of having to pay the contingent beneficiaries the same death benefit later. This is because a person involved in a homicide cannot benefit from the crime under "slayer" statutes. The point of this example is to show that there don't have to be competing claimants in order for an insurance company to invoke interpleader. It is appropriate in both cases.
In fact, there are endless scenarios in which insurance companies may seek to interplead death benefits. The important thing to understand is that if you are named as a defendant in an interpleader lawsuit, there is a very good chance you have a claim to some or all of the money.
If you have been served with an interpleader lawsuit (often times called a Complaint in Interpleader), we strongly recommend that you immediately contact a qualified life insurance lawyer to help you through the process. There are strict time requirements for taking action, and it is important that you do not wait to seek help. Our attorneys will review your case free of charge and tell you what they think. If we take your case, our mission will be to get you your money as fast as possible.