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Federal Court in Virginia Rules that Lincoln Life Insurance Benefits Go to the Primary Beneficiary

A federal trial court in Virginia ruled that the life insurance benefits go to the decedent’s primary beneficiary.


In 2019, Douglas Steen passed away. At the time of his death, he had a life insurance policy with Lincoln National Life Insurance Company (“Lincoln”). Two beneficiaries claimed the life insurance benefits, Steen’s daughter and Steen’s partner.

Steen’s partner argued that she was entitled to the benefits because she was the named primary beneficiary. Steen’s daughter argued that she was entitled to the benefits because her father had intended to change the policy and remove his partner. Lincoln asked the federal trial court to determine to whom the benefits should go to.

The Policy Governs

In determining who was the correct beneficiary, the trial court looked at one thing: the life insurance policy. The life insurance policy listed Steen’s partner as the primary beneficiary and his daughter as the contingent beneficiary. Steen’s daughter admitted that was correct.

The court next looked at another part of the life insurance policy that plainly explained the life insurance benefits will be paid to the surviving beneficiary. Since Steen’s partner was named as the primary beneficiary, the court determined that the life insurance benefits should go to her.

Help from a Lawyer with Experience in Life Insurance Claims

Life insurance law is complex. Hiring an experienced attorney is important.

The firm can help at any stage of your life insurance claim, including:

Because federal law applies to most life insurance claims, our lawyers are able to represent clients across the country.

Call (800) 969-0488 to speak with an experienced life insurance attorney. Consultations are free.