Kent Frazer, Founder and Managing Attorney of The Frazer Firm, recently helped his client obtain a complete victory on the eve of trial in a complex insurance proceeds dispute in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Kent represented the purchaser of a life insurance policy issued in 2002 where the insured’s two adult children were listed as the original owners and beneficiaries of the policy. The policy was sold in 2004 with the insured’s children signing the assignment of policy documents and change of ownership forms. Kent’s client purchased and became the successor beneficiary of the insurance policy in 2006, and since that time paid all premiums due under the policy. The insured passed away in March 2020, and our client requested distribution of death benefits under the policy. The insured’s two adult children then made claims for the death benefits under the policy, claiming their signatures were forged in 2004 when the policy was first sold.
Our client argued that the adult children’s claims were barred by the applicable statute of limitations, that it was a “bona fide purchaser” not subject to claims of forgery in a prior transaction over 16 years earlier, and that it would be inequitable to permit the adult children to reap a windfall through forgery when they failed to pay a single premium after the firm’s client had paid premiums for the past 14 years. In granting summary judgment in favor of the firm’s client, the federal District Court found that the applicable statute of limitations was four years and that the adult children’s claims accrued in 2004 when they allege the change of ownership forms were forged. Because they had not brought their claims within four years of accrual, the claims were barred, entitling the firm’s client to distribution of all death benefits under the policy. Final Judgment was entered in favor of the firm’s client in the amount of $531,191.48.
Nobody forms a business partnership with the expectation that it will all fall apart one day in the future. Nonetheless,…