Is naming a secret lover your life insurance beneficiary a mistake?


Adam Cecil

Adam Cecil

Former Staff Writer

Adam Cecil is a former staff writer for Policygenius, a digital insurance brokerage trying to make sense of insurance for consumers. He is a podcast producer, writer, and video maker based in Brooklyn, NY.

Published October 2, 2015|2 min read

Policygenius content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn about our

editorial standards

and how we make money.

News article image

Have a life insurance policy and want to make your Ashley Madison pen pal the beneficiary? If you live in a state with community property laws, you may not be able to give your lover any money, or, at most, only half.If you live in Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, or Wisconsin, pretty much all of your assets are deemed community property – including your life insurance policy. Unfortunately for those carrying on down low love affairs, each state has a different approach to community property, so we’ll have to be vague on the details of how to leave money to your mistress / kept boy.

Generally, if you bought the life insurance policy after you got married, it’s considered community property. That means that you two equally own it, even if you pay for it with your personal income.Depending on the state, if you want to name anyone other than your spouse as a beneficiary, your spouse needs to sign a paper waiving their rights to the benefit. In other states, no matter who you name as the beneficiary, your spouse has a right to half the benefit and can sue to receive it.Since community property laws vary state by state, you should talk to your financial planner or lawyer to get a better picture of how the law affects your assets.

So what does that mean for you and your secret lover? Unfortunately, you don’t have many options. A living trust won’t help you out – most community property laws state that any community property moved into a trust remains community property.The most surefire approach would be to divorce your spouse and marry the secret lover (though, of course, community property laws have their own affect on divorce). You could also try revealing the secret and asking your spouse to sign the waiver allowing you to give all of the benefit to your lover. Maybe your spouse is secretly super progressive and they’ll want you all to rent a home together in the Bahamas.