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Wife suing legal firm over life insurance payout

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In South Carolina, a husband who was hospitalized for a serious illness stated on his will that his $500,000 life insurance policy would be split five ways among his wife and four sons. However, following the distribution of the policy, the wife believes she received less than she was entitled to, InsuranceNewsNet.com reports.

The wife negotiated with the sons to make her the sole beneficiary, but then filed a lawsuit against the lawyer handling the insurance policy claiming that they didn't do what was necessary to get her the most money.

The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in favor of the wife filing suit and said in a statement that attorneys have an obligation of fiduciary duties to existing beneficiaries, meaning the firm may soon be making a professional liability claim. The lawyer's responsibilities were to follow specifications of the will and compensate the sole beneficiary.

"We conclude [the firm] owed a fiduciary duty to [its] former client, [the wife]. This duty included, among other obligations, the obligation not to act in a manner adverse to her interests in matters substantially related to the prior representation," the court said.
 

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