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Wilhoit v. Peoples Life Insurance Co.
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
218 F. 2d 887 (1955)
Oscar Wilhoit bought a life-insurance policy from Peoples Life Insurance Company (Peoples) (defendant), naming his wife, Sarah Wilhoit (Mrs. Wilhoit), as the beneficiary. When Oscar Wilhoit died, Peoples paid the proceeds from the policy to Mrs. Wilhoit. Soon thereafter, Mrs. Wilhoit sent a letter to Peoples depositing the policy’s proceeds in trust with the company. The letter stated that upon Mrs. Wilhoit’s death, the proceeds should go to her brother, Robert Owens. Robert Owens died, and his will left his property to Thomas Owens (defendant). Mrs. Wilhoit died 19 years later, and her will bequeathed the policy proceeds to Robert Wilhoit (plaintiff). Robert Wilhoit sued Peoples to recover the policy funds. The trial court found in Robert Wilhoit’s favor in line with the will on the ground that Mrs. Wilhoit’s agreement with Peoples was not a life-insurance agreement but a separate agreement that contained an invalid testamentary disposition. The trial court ordered the funds to be paid to Robert Wilhoit. Thomas Owens appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Major, J.)
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