From the law firm of Williams, Mullen.
The Supreme Court has ruled that if a former spouse is the named beneficiary of life insurance benefits under FEGLIA, the former spouse receives the proceeds. Hillman v. Maretta, No. 11-1221 (June 3, 2013). The Supreme Court held that FEGLIA (the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance Act of 1954) preempts Virginia Code Ann. § 20-111.1(A) and (D). The Virginia statute was written to automatically revoke a beneficiary designation in any contract that provides a death benefit to a former spouse where there was a change in decedent’s marital status. The statute also provided a separate cause of action against a former spouse if the former spouse received the proceeds as a named beneficiary. Following the Hillman ruling, the Virginia statute will not operate to revoke or otherwise change a beneficiary designation under FEGLIA.