Allen v. Allen
Illinois Appellate Court
589 N.E.2d 1133 (1992)
Ruth Allen (defendant) and Arnold Allen were married in 1963. Arnold was hired by Kelly-Springfield Tire Company (Kelly-Springfield) in 1965 and named Ruth as beneficiary of his basic life-insurance benefits offered by Kelly-Springfield. Ruth and Arnold divorced in January 1976, at which point they had one child, Timothy, age 10. The life-insurance policy was then worth $9,500. The dissolution decree provided that there was one life-insurance policy worth $10,000 and that Arnold was to maintain it with Timothy as beneficiary. Arnold and Carolyn Allen (plaintiff) were married in 1976. Carolyn stated that in 1979, Arnold had her fill out a card and form that named her as beneficiary, and he told her that he was going to turn it in at work the next day. Carolyn did not know whether he did so, and she acknowledged that, until then, Ruth remained the life-insurance beneficiary and Ruth and Arnold had agreed that Timothy would receive $10,000 of proceeds. In June 1989, Arnold died. Sue Brown, the manager of employment and safety for Kelly-Springfield, testified that at the time of Arnold’s death, he had $20,000 in basic life insurance and another $60,000 in contributory life insurance, for a total of $80,000, and the only beneficiary card on file named Ruth as beneficiary. The trial court found that the evidence did not support Carolyn’s claim that Arnold had executed a change of beneficiary and that Timothy’s claim to the proceeds was superior to any beneficiary. The court ordered the proceeds paid to Ruth and Timothy. Carolyn appealed, claiming that she was entitled to the proceeds subject only to a limited equitable claim in Timothy because the dissolution judgment barred any claim by Ruth; Timothy’s equitable claim was limited to the amount of the insurance at the time of dissolution; and Carolyn, as surviving spouse, was entitled to the proceeds if Ruth’s claim was barred.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Unverzagt, J.)
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