Missouri Interpleader Litigation Lawyer
Missouri interpleader litigation is a specific type of civil litigation where a party claims it may face double liability because there are two competing claims for a specific asset. If you are facing this type of litigation, contact Legacy Law Missouri for help today.
The most common example of an interpleader litigation is where a life insurance company has received multiple and adverse claims for life insurance proceeds after an insured has died.
Under both Missouri law and federal law, the life insurance company can file an interpleader litigation and name the various parties claiming rights to the proceeds as defendants.
Once the Missouri interpleader lawsuit has been filed with the appropriate court, the life insurance company usually deposits the policy proceeds into the court. They are then dismissed from the lawsuit and the competing claimant defendants then attempt to establish that they are the rightful recipient of the funds.
What Happens Next?
Once the proceeds are deposited with the court, the different parties making claims for the proceeds must assert they are the rightful recipient. The parties, of course, can agree to a settlement and divide the proceeds if they wish as well.
It’s vital, however, that a claimant pursue the litigation or they can lose the proceeds by not responding. As with any civil litigation, responding to an interpleader suit is complex and a party making a claim for proceeds should always be represented by an experienced interpleader lawyer.
What Is An Example Of Interpleader Litigation?
Bill is a lifelong bachelor and in 2000 he names his niece Alexa, who lives near him and his nephew Alex, who lives overseas, as 50/50 beneficiaries on a whole life insurance policy worth $1 million.
In 2020, Bill begins having severe health issues and although Alexa does not take care of Bill, she visits him in the hospital. Bill is told by his doctor to make sure his affairs are in order and so he begins discussing the life insurance policy with Alexa during one of her visits. He asks Alexa to contact the life insurance policy and informs her that she is his power of attorney.
Bill wants Alexa to obtain a change of beneficiary form from the life insurance company because he tells her he wants to change the beneficiary to 75% Alexa, 25% Alex.
Alexa obtains the beneficiary form but Bill has now slipped into a coma and is incapacitated. Alex completes the beneficiary form as Bill suggested he wanted, leaving most of the policy proceeds to her and signs the change of beneficiary form under her own signature as Bill’s power of attorney.
Bill then dies. The life insurance company, however, refuses to honor the change of beneficiary form signed by Alex as Bill’s power of attorney because the power of attorney only allows Alexa to complete a beneficiary form but not change the percentages to beneficiaries. Alexa locates an email Bill sent to the life insurance company while in the hospital in which he requests a beneficiary form “…so I can give 75% of my life insurance policy to my loving niece Alexa.”
Meanwhile, Alex learns that Bill has passed and remembers that he once told him he was a 50% beneficiary of his life insurance, so he calls the claims department to get more information. He then learns that Alexa is claiming 75% of the proceeds instead of 50%.
After talking to both Alex and Alexa, it’s clear to the life insurance company that they have competing claims and thus they file an interpleader litigation in the federal court where Bill passed away.
How Can Legacy Law Center Help?
At Legacy Law Missouri, our firm has successfully represented interpleader litigants in multiple federal and state courts. We can advise you on the best course of action if you are named as a party in a Missouri interpleader lawsuit and we can sometimes undertake a representation in such a suit on a contingency basis rather than an hourly representation. In a contingency representation, our firm gets paid by a client only if we recover funds for them. This is often beneficial to clients who may retain our services but do not want to or cannot afford to pay us on an hourly basis.