Hardy v. HardyAnnotate this Case
Insured held a life insurance policy issued as part of a federal employee benefit plan. When Insured divorced from his first wife, the divorce decree and property settlement required Insured (1) to maintain the life insurance policy, and (2) to designate the first wife and their grandchildren as equal beneficiaries. Subsequently, Insured remarried, designated his second wife as the sole beneficiary to the life insurance policy, and increased the insurance coverage. Insured and second wife later divorced. When Insured died, the second wife remained the sole beneficiary on the life insurance policy. The first wife and grandchildren filed suit, asserting equitable claims over the life insurance proceeds. The trial court granted summary judgment to the second wife, determining that federal employee benefit law preempted the equitable state law claims and that the policy proceeds accordingly belonged to the second wife. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance Act did not preempt the equitable claims and that the first wife and grandchildren were entitled to a constructive trust over at least a portion of the proceeds. Remanded.