State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Wisconsin > 766 > 766.61

766.61

766.61 Classification of life insurance policies and proceeds.

766.61(1)

(1) In this section:

766.61(1)(a)

(a) "Owner" means a person appearing on the records of the policy issuer as the person having the ownership interest, or means the insured if no person other than the insured appears on those records as a person having that interest. In the case of group insurance, the term means the holder of each individual certificate of coverage under the group plan and does not include the person who contracted with the policy issuer on behalf of the group, regardless of whether that person is listed as the owner on the contract.

766.61(1)(b)

(b) Except as provided in sub. (3) (e), "ownership interest" means the rights of an owner under a policy.

766.61(1)(c)

(c) "Policy" means an insurance policy insuring the life of a spouse and providing for payment of death benefits at the spouse's death and, for purposes of sub. (3) (e), the term includes an insurance policy insuring the life of any individual and providing for payment of death benefits at the death of the insured. This paragraph does not apply to sub. (2).

766.61(1)(d)

(d) "Proceeds" means the death benefit from a policy and all other economic benefits from it, whether they accrue or become payable as a result of the death of an insured person or upon the occurrence or nonoccurrence of another event.

766.61(2)

(2)

766.61(2)(a)

(a) In this subsection:

766.61(2)(a)1.

1. "Business day" has the meaning given under s. 421.301 (6).

766.61(2)(a)2.

2. "Notice of claim" means a written notice, by or on behalf of a spouse, former spouse, surviving spouse or a person claiming under a deceased spouse's disposition at death, that the person claims to be entitled to proceeds, payments or an interest in the policy.

766.61(2)(a)3.

3. "Policy" means an insurance policy insuring the life of a spouse or a life insurance policy of which a spouse is the owner.

766.61(2)(b)

(b) Except as provided in par. (c):

766.61(2)(b)1.

1. A policy issuer may rely on and act in accordance with the issuer's policy and records. If a policy issuer makes payments or takes actions in accordance with the policy and the issuer's records, the issuer is not liable because of those payments or actions.

766.61(2)(b)2.

2. The classification of a policy or a portion of a policy as marital property has no effect on the policy issuer's duty to perform under the issuer's contract when making payment or taking action in accordance with the policy and the issuer's records.

766.61(2)(c)

(c)

766.61(2)(c)1.

1. If at least 5 business days before making payment or taking action in accordance with the issuer's policy and records, a policy issuer has received at its home office a notice of claim, the issuer shall notify the party directing the payment or action of the receipt of the notice of claim and shall not take any action on the policy for 14 business days.

766.61(2)(c)2.

2. If within 14 business days after receiving the notice of claim the issuer receives at its home office, as purporting to support the notice of claim, a decree, marital property agreement, written directive signed by the beneficiary and surviving spouse, consent under sub. (3) (e) or proof that a legal action has been filed, including a copy of an election filed pursuant to s. 861.08 (1), to secure an interest as evidenced in such a document, the issuer shall make payment or take action on the policy after the issuer receives from a court or from the claimant and the person directing action or payment written documentation indicating that the dispute has been resolved.

766.61(2)(c)3.

3. If documentation purporting to support the claim is not submitted as described under subd. 2., the policy issuer shall take action or make payment as if the notice of claim had not been received.

766.61(2)(d)

(d) A policy issuer is not liable to any person for any claim for damages as a result of the issuer's suspension of policy action or the taking of any action pursuant to this subsection. A policy issuer shall pay interest which accrues during the suspension of any action under this subsection.

766.61(2m)

(2m)

766.61(2m)(a)

(a) In determining the marital property component of the ownership interest and proceeds of a policy under sub. (3), the date on which a policy becomes effective is the date of original issuance or coverage of the policy, whichever is earlier, if the policy is thereafter kept in force merely by continuing premium payments, without any further underwriting by the issuer. If additional underwriting is required after original issuance of the policy or if the amount of proceeds increases after original issuance as a result of unscheduled additional premiums paid by the policyholder, the effective date of the policy is the date on which the newly underwritten right to proceeds or the right to increased proceeds begins.

766.61(2m)(b)

(b) In determining the marital property component of the ownership interest and proceeds of a group policy sponsored by an employer or association under sub. (3), the date on which the policy becomes effective is the date on which individual coverage begins, notwithstanding that the employer or association thereafter changes policy issuers or that the amount of coverage changes under the policy pursuant to the plan or benefit offered by the employer or association. If additional underwriting is required after original issuance of the policy, or if the coverage is provided by a different employer or association, the effective date of the policy is the date on which the newly underwritten or newly provided coverage begins.

766.61(3)

(3) Except as provided in subs. (4) to (6):

766.61(3)(a)

(a)

766.61(3)(a)1.

1. Except as provided in subd. 2., the ownership interest and proceeds of a policy issued after the determination date which designates the insured as the owner are marital property, regardless of the classification of property used to pay premiums on the policy.

766.61(3)(a)2.

2. If after the issuance of a policy described under subd. 1. the insured or his or her spouse are at any time not domiciled in this state, the ownership interest and proceeds of the policy are mixed property. The marital property component of the ownership interest and proceeds is the amount which results from multiplying the entire ownership interest and proceeds by a fraction, the numerator of which is the period during marriage that the policy was in effect and the denominator of which is the entire period that the policy was in effect.

766.61(3)(b)

(b) The ownership interest and proceeds of a policy issued before the determination date which designates the insured as the owner are mixed property if a premium on the policy is paid from marital property after the determination date, regardless of the classification of property used to pay premiums on that policy after the initial payment of a premium on it from marital property. The marital property component of the ownership interest and proceeds is the amount which results from multiplying the entire ownership interest and proceeds by a fraction, the numerator of which is the period during marriage that the policy was in effect after the date on which a premium was paid from marital property and the denominator of which is the entire period that the policy was in effect.

766.61(3)(c)

(c)

766.61(3)(c)1.

1. Except as provided in subd. 2., the ownership interest and proceeds of a policy which designates the spouse of the insured as the owner are individual property of its owner, regardless of the classification of property used to pay premiums on the policy.

766.61(3)(c)2.

2. If after the issuance of a policy described under subd. 1. the insured or his or her spouse are at any time not domiciled in this state, the ownership interest and proceeds of the policy are individual property and property that is other than individual or marital property. The individual property component of the ownership interest and proceeds is the amount which results from multiplying the entire ownership interest and proceeds by a fraction, the numerator of which is the entire period during which the policy was in effect less that period during which the insured or his or her spouse were at any time not domiciled in this state and the denominator of which is the entire period that the policy was in effect.

766.61(3)(d)

(d) This chapter does not affect the ownership interest and proceeds of a policy that designates a person other than either spouse as the owner, if no premium on the policy is paid from marital property after the determination date. If a premium on the policy is paid from marital property after the determination date, the ownership interest and proceeds of the policy are in part property of the designated owner of the policy and in part marital property of the spouses, regardless of the classification of property used to pay premiums on that policy after the initial payment of a premium on it from marital property. The marital property component of the ownership interest and proceeds is the amount which results from multiplying the entire ownership interest and proceeds by a fraction, the numerator of which is the period during marriage that the policy was in effect after the date on which a premium was paid from marital property and the denominator of which is the entire period that the policy was in effect.

766.61(3)(e)

(e) A written consent in which a spouse consents to the designation of another person as the beneficiary of the proceeds of a policy or consents to the use of property to pay premiums on a policy is effective, to the extent that the written consent provides, to relinquish or reclassify all or a portion of that spouse's interest in property used to pay premiums on the policy or in the ownership interest or proceeds of the policy without regard to the classification of property used by a spouse or another person to pay premiums on that policy. Unless the written consent expressly provides otherwise, a written consent under this paragraph is revocable in writing and is effective only with respect to the beneficiary named in it. Unless the written consent expressly provides otherwise, a revocation of a written consent is effective no earlier than the date on which it is signed by the revoking spouse and does not operate to reclassify any property which was reclassified or in which the revoking spouse relinquished an interest from the date of the consent to the date of revocation. In this paragraph, "ownership interest" includes the interests of a spouse in a policy who is not an owner under the policy.

766.61(3)(f)

(f) Designation of a trust as the beneficiary of the proceeds of a policy with a marital property component does not by itself reclassify that component.

766.61(4)

(4) This section does not affect a creditor's interest in the ownership interest or proceeds of a policy assigned to the creditor as security or payable to the creditor.

766.61(5)

(5) The interest of a person as owner or beneficiary of a policy acquired under a decree or property settlement agreement incident to a prior marriage or to parenthood is not marital property, regardless of the classification of property used to pay premiums on that policy.

766.61(6)

(6) This section does not affect the ownership interest or proceeds of a policy if neither spouse is designated as an owner in the policy or the policy issuer's records and no marital property is used to pay a premium on the policy.

766.61(7)

(7) Except as provided in s. 854.14 (3m) (b) 2., if a noninsured spouse predeceases an insured spouse, the decedent spouse's marital property interest in a policy that designates the surviving spouse as the owner and insured is limited to a dollar amount equal to one-half of the marital property interest in the interpolated terminal reserve and in the unused portion of the term premium of the policy on the decedent spouse's date of death. All other rights of the decedent spouse in the ownership interest or proceeds of the policy, other than the marital property interest described in this subsection, terminate at the decedent spouse's death.

766.61(8)

(8) This section does not apply to a policy held by a deferred employment benefit plan. Classification of a deferred employment benefit, regardless of the nature of the assets held by the deferred employment benefit plan, is determined under s. 766.62.

766.61 - ANNOT.

History: 1983 a. 186; 1985 a. 37; 1987 a. 393; 1991 a. 301; 1997 a. 188; 2005 a. 216.

766.61 - ANNOT.

NOTE: 1991 Wis. Act 301, which affected this section, contains extensive legislative council notes.