Questions and Answers about Interpleader

20 Questions and Answers about Interpleader with Legal Expert Joseph Fogel, Esq.

Q: Why is the life insurance company saying it may sue me, in an interpleader?  What is an interpleader? Here are 20 Questions and Answers about Interpleader with Legal Expert Joseph Fogel, Esq.

A: An interpleader is the life insurance company’s way of having a judge decide which beneficiary should be paid.  An interpleader is a lawsuit, against you and any other people who claim they should be paid. An interpleader must be defended in Court, even if you are sure you are the one who should be paid.  Like any lawsuit, if you ignore it, you may lose.  But an interpleader is a very special kind of lawsuit, that requires a specialist to litigate.

Q: I just received an interpleader lawsuit.  Why did the life insurance company sue me, instead of paying me the life insurance policy benefits?

A: The life insurance company uses the special law of interpleader to get a judge to decide who should be paid, so they don’t have to decide.  Interpleader is a special law and rule, that gives the life insurance an out from deciding who to pay.  Interpleader is a special and complicated law and rule, and is generally tried in Federal Court.

Also, the life insurance company does not want to run the risk of different beneficiaries making claims to the same policy benefits.  When there is a question about a beneficiary designation or who should get the life insurance benefits, the life insurance company does not want to decide.  The insurer is afraid that if they don’t pay one side, that person will sue them.  Instead of running a risk of lawsuits, the insurer turns around and sues the people who claim the life insurance benefits.

Q: The insurance was supposed to benefit me – how can other people claim that they’re the beneficiaries?

A: Some people who dispute beneficiary designations on life insurance may believe they are doing what is right and fair; other people may be doing it out of anger, meanness, or just to try to get a few dollars. The legal reality is that life insurance companies no longer want to make any decision in a disputed beneficiary situation.  The life insurance company is likely to send it out to their own lawyers–at your expense–for the filing of an interpleader complaint.

Q:   Do I have to do anything if I know I am right?

A: Yes –   it’s very important part to realize that you can lose an interpleader complaint, even if you are truly right, if you don’t get the right lawyer and answer the complaint.  An interpleader complaint is a special kind of lawsuit.  If you don’t answer a lawsuit,   you can lose, just like any other lawsuit.

Q: How long does an interpleader complaint take?

A: Like any lawsuit, the lawsuit has its own timing, depending on the court, the amount of discovery that may be needed, and the length of the trial.  We work hard to try to get cases won as soon as possible.  Sometimes, it can be won in as little as thirty days.  Sometimes, months are needed.  We keep you informed and up to date.

Q: Why does the life insurance company tell me to “work it out” with the other people who want the benefits?  Isn’t it the job of the life insurance company to pay the right person?

A: Yes,  the life insurance company should figure out how to “do the right thing” and get you paid.  But they don’t do anything when there is a dispute. They don’t want to pay one side and not the other, and risk getting sued after they pay the policy benefits.

Q: What happens to the life insurance benefits in an interpleader?

A: After the life insurance company files an interpleader complaint, the life insurance company lawyers usually ask the Court to hold all the benefits.  The life insurance benefits are paid by the company to the Court.  Then, once the Court interpleader lawsuit is done, the Court will pay how it has decided the money should be paid.

Q: If I win the interpleader, do I get all my benefits paid to me?

A: If there is a verdict or decision from an interpleader trial, the Court (after it gets the funds) will pay the money out however that verdict or decision requires.  But the life insurance company will ask for payment of its lawyer fees and costs from the interpleader money.

Q: If I lose the interpleader, or just don’t want to hire a lawyer, can I get the life insurance company to pay the benefits to me?

A: No.  The interpleader is the way that the life insurance gets a judge to decide who gets the benefits.  Once the judge decides, the money is appropriately distributed.  You can’t go against the life insurance after an interpleader complaint.  The interpleader law action decides, once and for all, who gets the life insurance benefits.

Q: Do I really need a lawyer for an interpleader?

A: Yes, if you are serious about winning your case.  Courts are far too complicated, with far too many special rules and requirements, to think that you can do it yourself.  This isn’t the time or place for people to try to learn a whole new world.  Judges have very little patience for people without lawyers.  People without lawyers look like people who have weak cases, since no lawyer wants to work with them.  If you are serious about winning your interpleader, and you believe you are right, you need to hire the right lawyer.

Q:  Can any lawyer nearby do the interpleader?

A: This isn’t the area for a general lawyer, or a divorce lawyer.  Life insurance interpleader is a very specific and very sophisticated.  We recommend that you hire us: we can start immediately, and we already know interpleader law.  Many of clients prefer to call and send PDF’s and pictures of documents, rather than fight traffic to meet at one of our local meeting offices.  We are always available to meet and will set an appointment near you, if that is best for you.  We understand these interpleader cases and we know how important this case is to you.

Q:  What do lawyers know about interpleader?

A: Interpleader lawsuits are generally brought in Federal Courts, which is a whole different league than the regular state courts that hear divorce cases, child custody, and other general types of lawsuits.  Remember, a lawsuit is your one chance to get the right legal decision on your case.  This is not a place to take your chances on a Lawyer who is not a proven expert.

Q: What is Federal Court like?

A:  Federal Court has its own special rules and is absolutely NOT a place for a beginning attorney.  Each judge adds to the rules with their own particular orders on the case.  Depending on the other cases with the Court, things can move very quickly.  There are deadlines that other Courts don’t have – and if you miss a deadline, your case can be lost just for that.  Federal Court is a very serious setting and only 10% of lawyers are even licensed to practice in Federal Court.  We practice in Federal Courts throughout the country, we know the rules, and are the kind of experienced Federal lawyers who can bring everything possible to help win your case.

Q: If I hire life insurance lawyer NOW.com to handle my interpleader law, am I going to be worse off?

A: Hiring the right lawyer is very important.  We are the right lawyers for your interpleader law.  You don’t want lawyers who are just learning on your case – you want people who know this area inside and out.

Q: If I hire life insurance lawyer NOW.com for the interpleader, will my case go to trial?

A: We win cases because we prepare well for trial, but many cases can be won on the pleadings or settled at acceptable levels, before trial.  Courts always encourage settlements, at some point in the life of a case.  We work hard to persuade the other side’s lawyers that they should stop what they are doing.  Many times, after some of the case is prepared, but before trial, we can use the process of mediation to find a settlement that is good for our client.

Q: How do I hire life insurance lawyer NOW.com for my interpleader?

A: We are available and ready to help.   Most of our clients ask for a contingency hiring agreement, where we have to win a recovery for them, or there is nothing due to us.  Our contingency fee rates are the most competitive in the country, and we provide the best services, and the most responsive and caring attorneys.  We answer your questions, keep you informed, and make sure that your strongest facts are put at the center of the case.   Call, email, text or chat with us, and we look forward to helping right away.  Sometimes, we can get claims paid within seven days, and our clients are always relieved to know that we are on their side.

Q:  Why won’t my life insurance company just pay like they promised?

A: Life insurance companies actually get very few requests for payments.  Most policies never result in a payment.  When a claim comes in on a life insurance policy, it can be a big claim.  The amount of life insurance benefits to be paid is usually a lot more than the premiums paid.  So the life insurance companies have plans to investigate and not pay, if they can get away with it. They like to use delaying tactics and tricks to waste time. We don’t fall for those tactics.

Q: Why are interpleaders held in Federal Court?  We are just a regular family.

A: Insurance companies like to bring interpleaders in Federal Court.  Federal Court is a scary place for most lawyers.  We are frequently in Federal Court, and we know the rules and procedures so Federal Court is a comfortable setting for us.  The Federal judges know the interpleader law well, and can quickly get the life insurance companies out of the lawsuit, which is really what the life insurance wants, anyway.

Q: Is there any way to avoid an interpleader?

A: Yes.  If you have us on your side, we can possibly avoid an interpleader. We will quickly review the facts on your life insurance claim.  We will determine if there is additional strong evidence that we can quickly obtain to help you get paid.  We can make strong legal arguments on the evidence in place, and the law.  We can attack the positions of others, who are trying to take the policy away from you.  We can do a lot to try to avoid the interpleader, and be in a strong place to win an interpleader.

Q: If I have been named in an interpleader, do I need a lawyer, since the judge will decide?

A: YES, you need a lawyer.  An interpleader is a lawsuit.  The judge does not gather the evidence –  the judge will decide on the evidence and laws controlling the evidence.  If you think you don’t have to do anything in a lawsuit, you are in for a big surprise.  The right kind of Answer must be filed, as well as  proper Discovery.  There are additional laws that apply to an interpleader, and it is very risky to not have an experienced lawyer on your team.

Q: Why does the life insurance company is listen to the other person, who says they are a beneficiary, but I know they are not really entitled to anything?

A: The life insurance company has a process for all of this.  Even if you believe very strongly that you, and not the other person, is the rightful beneficiary, the process will be followed.  That process includes many opportunities for people stretch the truth, argue questioned documents, or try to avoid certain important laws and regulations.  Sometimes, just believing that you should win the interpleader is a problem because you might slack off in the hard work needed to put all the evidence in place, and make all the right arguments.  We will work hard as your lawyers, even if you believe it is a clear case, and we will never stop pushing for the right result.

Q:Not only is the other person trying to be the beneficiary on the life insurance policy, but they are trying to take the estate, too.  Is this right?

A: These are two different questions, that often arise together.  More lawyers are familiar with estates and probate than are knowledgeable about life insurance policies.  We know life insurance policies, interpleader, and all life insurance disputes.  We know probate, too, and can help keep the two problems clear.  We work with probate and estate lawyers, we get cases referred to us where the first lawyer handles the probate and estate, and we handle life insurance claims and interpleaders.   We do what is needed for you to get these situations to the right result.

Q: Won’t the judge just see that the other side is wrong, so I automatically win the interpleader?

A: Judges, despite the name, really don’t get to decide a case unless it is tried to the judge.  Interpleader are decided by judges, but only at the end of a long process of preparation.  If your interpleader law case is not properly prepared, and tried, the judge is unlikely to rule in your favor.  The risk is that the other side finds a lawyer who manages to work the other side of the case up into something that could win, especially if you are not well represented by interpleader lawyers, and you have not helped to get all the strongest facts, out in front, to win your case.

Q: Why are you a better interpleader lawyer than others who say they know some of everything?

A: A real interpleader lawyer from life insurance lawyer NOW.com is going to be the best bet for your case.  You only get one case, one chance to win what is rightfully yours.  The life insurance benefits should be paid to you.  Few people have good experiences with their divorce lawyers – did those lawyers do everything possible to win the case?  Did they follow up regularly with you, so you knew what was going on in the process?  We, at life insurance lawyer NOW.com work hard to know interpleader law inside and out.  We work hard to keep you informed and up to date, so you feel respected.  Those factors, and more, make us the best place for interpleader law.