Payout for Double Homicide Clouds Life Insurance Policy – Reuters


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A double homicide in Middleborough in December 2020 obscured the payment of a life insurance policy, in part because it is unclear whether husband or wife died first.

The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company is asking a federal judge to decide who will get the money.

David C. True, 52, and his wife Renee, 55, died of stab wounds on December 10, 2020 at their home in Middleborough, Massachusetts. Their son, Ryan True, 21 at the time, was charged with murdering them. News reports suggest he is autistic or bipolar or possibly both. He is being held at Bridgewater State Hospital while his case is pending.

David True, the foreman of an asphalt company, had a group life insurance policy through his employer with a $50,000 death benefit plus a $50,000 accidental death rider , which includes homicide. David’s wife, Renee, was the main beneficiary of the policy; Ryan was the contingent beneficiary.

A primary beneficiary receives the money when the person whose life is insured dies. A contingent beneficiary receives the money if the primary beneficiary is already deceased when the person whose life is insured dies.

This is where the problem lies. The death certificates of David True and Renee True state that they died on the same day, but they do not have the time of death, which is unclear.

If David True died first, then Renee was his primary beneficiary, if only briefly. His subsequent death would mean that the life insurance death benefit would go to his estate.

If Renee True died first, then when David True died, the death benefit from his life insurance policy would go to a contingent beneficiary. The money “may be payable to Ryan as the contingent beneficiary of the deceased, unless otherwise prohibited by state law … or federal common law,” according to a complaint filed on behalf of the life insurance company.

Like other states, Massachusetts has so-called “killer status,” which prevents people from benefiting from the estate of someone they have killed. A Massachusetts statute directs the courts to “deem any person convicted of the unlawful killing of the deceased to be predeceased by the deceased for purposes of the distribution and disposition of the deceased’s estate…”

Other possible beneficiaries of the life insurance policy are Renee True’s eldest son (who is David True’s stepson) or David True’s mother, according to court documents.

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company attorneys filed a plaintiff lawsuit, which among other things allows an insurance company to file a lawsuit asking a court to resolve a dispute between potential beneficiaries of a insurance policy.

The lawsuit was filed on Friday, September 16, 2022 in US District Court in Boston.

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