- The provisions of the Married Women’s Property act safeguard the benefits of a life insurance for the wife and the children of the policyholder
- The act shields the beneficiaries against claims from creditors, parents, siblings, and others, on the benefits arising from the life insurance policy
- The facility can be availed only at the time of availing the policy
Life insurance is bought with the aim of safeguarding the financial interests of the immediate family members. However, at times, due to various external circumstances like outstanding debt, litigations, family feuds, etc., the intended beneficiaries do not receive all the benefits.
This is where the Married Women’s Property Act (MWPA) 1874 comes to their aid. Under this act, a married woman (and/ or child) enjoys absolute and undisputed rights to the various benefits extended by a life insurance policy.
Advantages of Married Women’s Property Act (MWPA) 1874
What does it mean for the married woman? MWPA is a powerful and legally sound method to safeguard the interests of married women in India. For life insurance plans endorsed under the MWPA, once the beneficiaries are listed, no one can challenge their right to the benefits of the policy, not even the policyholder.
● Absolute Rights: No other member from the joint family such as husband’s parents, siblings, or others, can claim their right to the policy benefits. The rights to the maturity proceeds lies with the wife and/or the children, whoever has been named as the beneficiary while buying the policy.
● Assured Safeguard Against Liabilities: A businessman/working individual (husband) might have borrowed funds and pledged personal assets for business loans. In most cases, in the event of his demise, lenders can attach his properties and liquidate it to recover outstanding loans. Such assets can include building, land, vehicles, jewelry, and other financial holdings. Moreover, in non-MWPA cases, the death benefits received under life insurance, where the wife and children are the beneficiaries, can also be attached by the lenders — thereby defeating the key purpose of insurance.
However, life insurance policies endorsed under the MWPA cannot be attached by the husband’s creditors.
● Minimal Paperwork: Under MWPA, a trust is automatically created, and the beneficiaries become the trustees without the formal procedure of creating settlement deed or a trust.
● Survival Benefits: Even in cases where the policyholder survives the policy term, the insurance benefits (if any) are given to the beneficiaries named under MWPA policy. For life insurance plans not endorsed to the MWPA, the policyholder receives the survival benefits.
How To Endorse The Life Insurance Under Married Women’s Property Act (MWPA) 1874
The process of endorsing the policy is simple. When you apply for a life insurance policy — whole life plan, term plan, endowment plan etc., you need to fill the Married Women’s Property addendum. These forms are available with the life insurance companies. A duly filled form carries information about the intended beneficiary.
The Beneficiaries of Life Insurance Under MWPA Cannot Be Changed
For non-MWPA life insurance policies, the beneficiaries can be changed at any time. Life events like divorce, family settlements, separation, etc., might prompt the policyholder to amend the list of beneficiaries. However, under MWPA policies, the beneficiaries cannot be changed or modified at a later date. Even in case of a divorce, the beneficiaries originally named, remain.
Rohit Khanna (35), is married and has a four-year-old son. Rohit is a partner in his family-managed business. His family enjoys a warm and cordial relationship with the extended family; his business is also flourishing and generating good profits. However, he knows that life is uncertain. Since most of his personal assets are pledged towards the shared business, he wanted to ensure that the interests of his wife and son are never compromised, even in his absence.
This is why Rohit decided to avail a term life insurance policy under MWPA. He is now assured that even in case of an eventuality, his wife and son will receive the full sum assured. The other family members, business lenders (if any), or even tax authorities, will not have any right whatsoever, to the policy benefits.
At Exide Life Insurance, it is a constant endeavor to help you make the most of your life insurance policies. If you are married, read more about MWPA, and ensure that you fill up the necessary documentation and experience peace of mind. Do consult your financial advisor for detailed terms, conditions and applicability.