Life insurance is usually governed by beneficiary information on the policy. In other words, whoever the beneficiary is on the policy will the one to collect. You may want to consult a local lawyer to confirm this.
No, an ex-spouse can't collect a deceased husbands insurance if the first wife is listed as beneficiary even if the fist wife is now deceased. The money will go to the beneficiary's heirs.
No, the spouse is not. The beneficiary is named. There are laws that require the spouse to sign an acknowledgement that there is life insurance that she is not the beneficiary of.
Many insurance companies will not let you change your beneficiary, if it is your spouse, without their knowledge. You will have to contact your insurance comapny to find out. Contact your insurance company. Your spouse won't know you've changed it. If they need to send you a new policy, ask them to let you pick it up at their local office. If they can only mail it to you, be sure to collect the mail before your spouse sees it.
You can name anyone as beneficiary.
who collects the life insurance in a marriage when one spouse dies and theres no beneficiary on file
In rare cases, a person will make a close friend or relative the beneficiary of their life insurance policy instead of their spouse.
No. The beneficiary is whoever is specifically named on the policy.
Your spouse can get a separate policy (usually cheaper) or you can contact your insurance company to get the right paperwork for adding your spouse. Adding your spouse as a beneficiary, your agent can help.
Yes, if the owner of the policy does not file a change of beneficiary the insurance will have to pay the proceeds to the person who is named on the policy.
If the life insurance policy had listed as the beneficiary the spouse only then it is not considered part of the estate and is not subject to claims. If the beneficiary is the estate then it is subject to claims. The only problem with the spouse being the only beneficiary is if she was a party to the claims personally then perhaps she and the proceeds from the life insurance could be subject to these claims.