Life insurance: clouds on the appointment by will of the beneficiaries of the contracts

The Court of Appeal of Aix-en-Provence, in a recent judgment dated April 18, 2018, has just disturbed the appointment by will of the beneficiary of a life insurance contract. comment défiscaliser en immobilier
Analysis written in August 2018 by Jean-François Lucq, head of wealth engineering at Banque Richelieu
Until 2007, the appointment by will of the beneficiary of a life insurance contract was strongly encouraged by the practitioners, particularly in view of the fact that if the beneficiary was to become aware of the existence of the contract, he could, by notifying in advance its acceptance to the company, paralyze the right to redemption, or a modification of the beneficiary, by the subscriber. investissement défiscalisant
Since 2007, the only acceptance of the beneficiary is no longer sufficient, since it must be completed by the acceptance by the subscriber of the acceptance of the beneficiary to produce effects by operation of law. Nevertheless, designations of wills remained always possible and practiced by a large number of subscribers.
The circumstances of the case judged by the Court of Appeal of Aix-en-Provence are rather singular: a grandmother had been the victim of an accident, and the insurance company had paid him a capital, capital of which she could not take advantage because she had passed away in the meantime. The grandfather, her husband, had used at least a fraction of this capital to take out a new life insurance policy; he had returned the benefit of the contract to a will deposited with a notary, in which he designated other persons than descendants in direct line.
At the end of the contract, disgruntled grandchildren failed before the TGI to requalify this life insurance contract as a legacy of common law, but they did so before the Court of Appeal. It considers that the fact of returning the beneficiary designation to a will, but also the fact to specify that in the absence of a will, the beneficiaries will be “his heirs”, reveal the link between life insurance and inheritance . The Court of Appeal dismisses Article L. 132-13 of the Insurance Code, and reinstates the capital in the common law estate!
The fact that the grandfather used funds that were in reality funds from the estate to underwrite the new contract undoubtedly played a role in the decision of the court of appeal. But the fact of not referring to it, and placing oneself on the sole ground of the testamentary appointment seems objectionable.
For subscribers who have made such designations, the “classic” return to a transmission of the beneficiary clause to the insurance company, with the assistance of their usual counsel (broker, general agent, banker, etc.) for the appropriate drafting. Logically imposes as a measure of caution, pending a decision of principle of the Court of Cassation, after a (likely) appeal beneficiaries referred to in the will.

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