Banner Life Insurance Co. v. Mark Wallace Dixson Irrevocable Trust

206 P.3d 481 (2009)

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Banner Life Insurance Co. v. Mark Wallace Dixson Irrevocable Trust

Idaho Supreme Court
206 P.3d 481 (2009)

Facts

In January 2000, Mark Wallace and Tammy Wallace (defendant) married. During the marriage, Mark obtained annual, renewable, term life insurance for $300,000 from Banner Life Insurance Co. (plaintiff). Community funds were used to pay premiums, and Tammy was designated as the sole beneficiary. In 2003, Mark was diagnosed with a serious illness. As Mark became sicker, the community could no longer afford to make premium payments. The Wallaces’ spiritual advisor paid the premiums on the life-insurance policy in 2005 and 2006. In 2005, Mark changed the primary beneficiary of the policy to his mother, Jackie Young, and filed for divorce. Through an attorney, Mark changed the beneficiaries again in 2006 to Jackie as the primary beneficiary and his six children as the contingent beneficiaries. Mark died later in 2006, while his divorce was still pending. Mark’s trust (defendant) asserted that the insurance proceeds were Mark’s separate property and belonged to Jackie because the last premium was paid using funds that were gifted to Mark alone. Tammy contended that the proceeds were community property because the policy was acquired during marriage using community funds. Mark’s trust and Tammy filed conflicting claims with Banner Life Insurance, which initiated an action to resolve the claims. On motions for summary judgment, the trial court ruled in favor of Mark’s trust. Tammy appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Jones, J.)

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