Life insurance firm sues two Texas residents in beneficiary controversy

By Robbie Hargett | Nov 10, 2015

A life insurance company is suing two Texas residents concerning a dispute regarding which of the two should receive certain life insurance benefits.

The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company filed a complaint July 20 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas against Sarah Sohl of Plantersville and Dean Duggar of Llano, alleging it cannot determine who is the proper beneficiary under certain policies.

According to the suit, Lincoln National issued Daniel Duggar, the deceased in this suit, the basic life policy and voluntary life policy to fund certain benefits payable to eligible participants and their beneficiaries under the plan.

On a form dated May 18, 2011, the complaint states, Daniel Duggar named Sohl, identified as his fiance, as the primary beneficiary under the policies, and he named Dean Duggar, identified as his brother, the contingent beneficiary.

After Daniel Duggar's death Dec. 23, 2013, an attorney for his probate estate contacted Lincoln National requesting information about the identity of the beneficiaries and objected to Sohl receiving any benefits on the basis that she was not a proper beneficiary. Lincoln National contacted Sohl on April 14, 2014, and asked her to complete a beneficiary statement form to process the claim, but she did not return the form or contact Lincoln National, the suit says.

Sohl later phoned Lincoln National and indicated she wished to pursue a claim for the benefits, but she has yet to return a completed beneficiary form, the suit says.

The complaint alleges the plaintiff cannot determine the proper beneficiary and does not want to pay any benefits without prior judicial determination of the proper beneficiary, as it would be exposed to multiple claims.

Lincoln National seeks relief of leave to deposit with this court's registry the sum of $260,000 in satisfaction of its obligations under the policies and plan, an order restraining the defendants from pursuing any claims against the plaintiff, plus attorney fees and court costs. It is represented by attorneys John M. Scannapieco and Martha L. Boyd of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz in Nashville.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas case number 4:15-cv-02089.

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