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Freitas v. Freitas

Court of Appeal of California
159 P. 611 (1916)


Mrs. Freitas (plaintiff), the widow of Manuel T. Freitas, understood that she was the beneficiary under her husband’s life-insurance policy pursuant to an oral antenuptial agreement. Mrs. Freitas had agreed to marry Mr. Freitas only if he would name her as the beneficiary of his life-insurance policy with Unica Portugueza de Estada da California (Unica) (defendant). After the Freitases were married, Mr. Freitas changed his insurance policy to name Mrs. Freitas as the beneficiary and delivered the revised policy to Mrs. Freitas. However, later in their marriage, Mr. Freitas changed the policy without Mrs. Freitas’s knowledge to name his four children from a prior marriage (defendants) as beneficiaries in place of Mrs. Freitas. The children of Mr. Freitas were the named beneficiaries at the time of his death. Mrs. Freitas claimed the proceeds, and Unica paid the due sums to the trial court to determine who had the rightful claim to those proceeds. The trial court determined that Mrs. Freitas had the legal claim to the property. The children of Mr. Freitas appealed.

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