303 F.Supp.2d 34 (2004) | Cited 2 times | D. Massachusetts | February 17, 2004


This is an interpleader action filed by Metropolitan Life InsuranceCompany ("MetLife") to determine the proper recipient of the lifeinsurance proceeds of Donald E. Flinkstrom ("Decedent"). The underlyingdispute is between Terri A. Hall ("Hall"), Decedent's former wife, andDarin Flinkstrom ("Darin"), one of Decedent's four children, over theproper beneficiaries of Decedent's life insurance policy. Hall claimsthat she is the proper beneficiary because she is listed as the primarybeneficiary of the policy on a beneficiary designation form that Decedentcompleted in 1984. Darin, however, claims that Hall waived her benefitsand, therefore, the proceeds of the policy should pass in equal shares toDecedent's children pursuant to the laws of intestacy. He also arguesthat the proceeds should pass in equal shares to Decedent's childrenbecause they are named as the primary beneficiaries of the policy on twobeneficiary designation forms, one that was completed in 2000 and onethat was completed inPage 22001. Presently before this court are Hall and Darin's cross-motions forsummary judgment.


Decedent, an employee of General Electric Company ("GE"), was aparticipant in the GE Life, Disability, and Medical Plan ("Plan").1The Plan is an employee benefit plan and is, therefore, governed by theEmployee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA").2 As a partof his employment benefits under the Plan, Decedent received a lifeinsurance policy.3 MetLife is the claims administrator for, andinsurer of, that policy.4

Decedent and Hall were married on August 28, 1982.5 Hall wasDecedent's second wife.6 Decedent and Hall had two childrentogether, Brandon S. Flinkstrom ("Brandon") and Ashley L. Flinkstrom("Ashley").7 Decedent also had two children from a prior marriage,Jeffrey E. Flinkstrom ("Jeffrey") and Darin.8

On January 31, 1984, Decedent completed a Beneficiary Designation Form("1984 Form") that named his then-wife Hall as the primary beneficiary ofhis life insurance policy andPage 3his son Brandon as the contingent beneficiary.9 The policy containedthe following provision that addressed how an insured could change hisbeneficiary designations: An employee

may change beneficiary designations at any time by calling the GE Enrollment Center . . . or by contacting [a] human resources representative to request a new beneficiary designation form. [The employee must] complete the new form and return it to the Enrollment Center. When a change of beneficiary notice is received, it becomes effective on the date . . . the request [was signed].10

Decedent and Hall separated in 1997.11 In 1998, Hall initiated adivorce action in the Middlesex Probate and Family Court.12 OnDecember 30, 1999, Decedent and Hall executed a marital agreement.13The agreement merged into, and became, the final judgment of theMiddlesex Probate and Family Court.14 With regard to Decedent's lifeinsurance policy, the agreement provides as follows: Decedent "shallmaintain each of the [four] minor children as twenty-five . . . percentbeneficiaries of his current life insurance coverage issued by [GE]and/or death benefits . . .15Page 4

During the divorce proceedings, Hall was represented by counsel.16She consulted with her attorney before she executed the maritalagreement, and her attorney answered all of the questions that she hadconcerning the content of that agreement.17 Hall signed the agreement"freely and voluntarily."18 And, when she signed the agreement, shewas aware of both the existence of the life insurance policy and that,pursuant to the 1984 Form, she was the primary beneficiary of thatpolicy.19

On September 6, 2000, Decedent attempted to remove Hall from her statusas the primary beneficiary of his life insurance policy by executing anew Beneficiary Designation Form ("2000 Form").20 The 2000 Form namesBrandon, Ashley, Jeffrey, and Darin as the primary beneficiaries ofDecedent's life insurance policy.21 The 2000 Form was mailed toMetLife in September of 2000.22

Shortly thereafter, Decedent informed Darin that he had been diagnosedwith cancer and asked Darin to start handling his personal and financialaffairs.23 Darin agreed to do so, and atPage 5Decedent's request, he began to open and handle Decedent's mail,pay Decedent's bills, and perform other like tasks.24

In mid-August of 2001, Darin, while opening Decedent's mail, discovereda letter from GE that was dated August 14, 2001.25 The letter statedthat, although it was in possession of the 2000 Form, it could not makethe changes to the life insurance policy that Decedent desired because"[t]he signature on [the F]orm [was] more than [six] months old" when itwas initially processed, and for that reason, the Form is "invalid."26The letter asked Decedent to "complete and return [to GE a] newbeneficiary form . . ."27

After Darin informed Decedent of the content of the August 14, 2001letter, Darin claims that Decedent "ask[ed him] to `take care ofit.'"28 Darin "took care of it" by filling out a new BeneficiaryDesignation Form ("2001 Form") that was entirely consistent with the 2000Form.29 Darin signed Decedent's name to the 2001 Form and mailed itto GE.30 The 2001 Form wasPage 6dated August 21, 2001.31

Decedent died on December 20, 2001.32 On March 5, 2002, Jeffrey andDarin filed claims for the proceeds payable under Decedent's lifeinsurance policy with MetLife.33 On March 11, 2002, Brandon alsofiled with MetLife a claim for the life insurance proceeds.34 OnMarch 26, 2002, Hall requested that the proceeds not be paid toDecedent's children.35 She made that request because she believedthat Decedent's "beneficiary documentation may have been tamperedwith."36 The life insurance proceeds in issue total$42,318.37

On November 27, 2002, MetLife commenced an interpleader action in thiscourt in order to determine the proper beneficiaries of Decedent's lifeinsurance policy. It named as defendants Hall, Brandon, Ashley, Jeffrey,and Darin. Subsequent to the filing of that interpleader action, Hallinstituted a separate action against MetLife, Darin, and Jeffrey in orderto acquire the full amount of the proceeds of the life insurance policyin question. On May 7, 2003, this court consolidated the two actions.


Hall and Darin have filed cross-motions for summary judgment. A motionfor summaryPage 7judgment is meant "to pierce the boilerplate of the pleadings andassay the parties' proof in order to determine whether trial is actuallyrequired."38 Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, summaryjudgment is appropriate only if the record reveals that there is "nogenuine issue as to any material fact and . . . the moving party [hasdemonstrated an] entitle[ment] to a judgment as a matter of law."39

It is the responsibility of the "party seeking summary judgment [to]make a preliminary showing that no genuine issue of material fact exists.Once the movant has made this showing, the nonmovant must contradict theshowing by pointing to specific facts demonstrating that there is,indeed, a trialworthy issue."40

In deciding whether to allow a motion for summary judgment, a court"`must view the entire record in the light most hospitable to the partyopposing summary judgment, indulging all reasonable inferences in thatparty's favor.'"41 But, a court "need not credit `conclusoryallegations, improbable inferences, and unsupported speculation.'"42Page 8

Of course, "[t]he happenstance that all parties seek summary judgmentneither alters the yardstick nor empowers the trial court to resolveauthentic disputes anent material facts."43 A court consideringcross-motions for summary judgment "must evaluate each motion separately,being careful to draw inferences against each movant in turn."44

A. Waiver of the Proceeds of Decedent's Life Insurance Policy

The key issue before this court is whether Hall, Decedent's formerspouse and the individual who was designated as the primary beneficiaryof Decedent's life insurance policy when he died,45 effectivelywaived her benefits via the marital agreement that was incorporated intothe judgment of divorce. The agreement provides, in relevant part, thatDecedent "shall maintain each of the [four] minor children as twenty-five. . . percent beneficiaries of his current life insurance coverageissued by [GE] and/or death benefits. . . ."46

Before this court addresses the waiver issue that has been outlinedabove, it must first decide whether to apply state or federal law toresolve that issue. And, "[although it seems logical that state law wouldcontrol, the interpretation of a marital termination agreement ordinarilybeing a matter of state law," state law does not govern the outcome ofthis type ofPage 9case.47 Congress has "mandated that ERISA `shall supersede anyand all State laws insofar as they may now or hereafter relate to anyemployee benefit plan' covered by the statute."48 There is no disputethat the life insurance policy in issue is part of an "employee benefitplan" and, hence, falls within the scope of ERISA's coverage.49Courts, moreover, have uniformly held that "[t]he determination of thebeneficiary of the proceeds of an insurance policy plainly relates to anemployee benefit plan."50 ERISA, therefore, preempts the applicationof state law in this case. So, in resolving the waiver issue in thiscase, this court must look either to the language of the ERISA statuteor, if that language does not provide the answer, to the body of federalcommon law that interprets that statute.51

Having decided that ERISA preempts the application of state law in thiscase, this court may now return its attention to the issue of whether, ina marital agreement that has been incorporated into a divorce judgment, aspouse may effectively waive his beneficiary interest in anERISA-regulated plan. Courts that have addressed this issue "have splitas to whether ERISA itself supplies the rule of law or whether judgesmust look to federal common law for thePage 10controlling principles."52

A minority of the courts that have considered this issue have decidedthat Section 1104(a)(1)(D) of ERISA specifically addresses the issue andmandates "that a clear beneficiary designation under an ERISA plan maynot be disturbed by a waiver in external documents."53 They note thatSection 1104(a)(1)(D) "requires plan administrators to perform theirobligations `in accordance with the documents and instruments governingthe plan.'"54 With that statutory command in mind, these courts arguethat "a divorce settlement cannot waive pension plan benefits when aclear designation has been made on the plan documents."55 Theymaintain that a plan administrator should be required to look only toplan documents to discharge his duties. And, they point out that thisapproach is consistent with "the intent of Congress that ERISA plans beuniform in their interpretation and simple in their application."56

The majority of the courts that have considered the issue, however,have held that, because "there is no specific provision in ERISA thatgoverns the issue of what acts constitute a valid waiver of benefits," itis proper to look beyond the language of ERISA and apply federal commonlaw in deciding whether a spouse may effectively waive his beneficiaryinterest in anPage 11ERISA-regulated plan.57 When ERISA is silent on an issue, courts, asa general rule, may "turn to state law" for guidance when they initiallyfashion federal common law rules to govern ERISA suits, so long as thestate law is consistent with ERISA and its underlying policies.58

According to the federal common law rule that has emerged, "ERISA doesnot preempt an explicit waiver of interest by a nonparticipantbeneficiary of an ERISA-regulated benefits plan.59 The rule"require[s] proof of a specific termination of the rights in question inorder to effectively waive a beneficiary's interest under anERISA-regulated plan."60 An alternative "formulation of th[at]principle] mandates that an attempted waiver by a designated beneficiaryof an ERISA-regulated benefits plan be `explicit, voluntary, and made ingood faith' to be considered valid."61 At least one court hasdeclared that, however the rule is stated, when a court "evaluate[s]whether [a] waiver is effective in a given case, [it should be] moreconcerned with whether a reasonable person would have understood that shewas waiving her interest in thePage 12proceeds or benefits in question than with any magic language contained inthe waiver itself."62

The First Circuit has not yet addressed the issue of whether a spousemay waive his rights to a benefit under an ERISA-regulated plan through astatement in a marital agreement that is incorporated into a divorcejudgment. This court agrees with the position that has been taken by themajority of courts that have considered the issue and will, therefore,allow a voluntary waiver of interest, so long as that waiver isunambiguous.

To be sure, "one of ERISA's purposes is to facilitate `uniform,uncomplicated administration' of [benefit] plans."63 But, this courtdoes not think that the majority approach "work[s] against ERISA's needfor uniformity [or] bring[s] uncertainty into the administration of. . . plan[s]."64 First, "federal courts are charged with creatingfederal common law rules to govern ERISA, . . . and the creation ofsuch federal rules . . . provide[s] the needed uniformity."65 Andsecond, the majority approach will not impose additional burdens on planadministrators. Currently, "under the ERISA statutory scheme, a planadministrator must investigate the marital history of a participant anddetermine whether any [qualified] domestic relations orders exist thatPage 13could affect the distribution of benefits."66 The majority approach"only requires plan administrators to continue their current practice ofthoroughly investigating the marital status of a participant."67

Because this court has decided that it is possible for a spouse towaive his rights to a benefit under an ERISA-regulated plan through amarital agreement that is incorporated into a divorce judgment, it mustnow determine whether there was an effective waiver in this case. Thatis, in view of the various formulations of the federal common law rule,this court must now decide whether the marital agreement was voluntarilyentered into and whether Hall should haveunderstood that she was waivingher interest in the proceeds of Decedent's life insurance policy when sheexecuted that agreement.68

There was an effective waiver in this case. It is clear that themarital agreement was voluntarily entered into and that Hall should haveunderstood that she was waiving her status as beneficiary of Decedent'slife insurance policy when she executed that agreement. There is noPage 14evidence in the record that indicates that the marital agreement wasanything but voluntarily entered into.69 And, there can be noquestion that the agreement specifically refers to Decedent's lifeinsurance policy. It provides that Decedent "shall maintain each of the[four] minor children as twenty-five . . . percent beneficiaries of hiscurrent life insurance coverage issued by [GE] and/or death benefits. .. ."70 Although the agreement does not use the terms "waive" or"waiver" when it addresses the life insurance policy, Hall should haveunderstood from the language of the agreement that it would act to divesther of her interest in that policy. After all, the agreement requiredDecedent to "maintain each of [his four] minor children as twenty-five .. . percent beneficiaries of his" life insurance policy.71 In otherwords, it required Decedent to designate his children as the one hundredpercent beneficiaries of the policy. Given that Hall consulted with herattorney before she executed the agreement,72 and that she was awarethat she had previously been designated as the primary beneficiary of thepolicy,73 she should have realized that she was waiving her status asprimary beneficiary of the policy when she executed the agreement.

B. Distribution of the Proceeds of Decedent's Life Insurance Policy

This court's final responsibility is to determine the properbeneficiaries of Decedent's life insurance policy. Because Halleffectively waived her benefits under the policy, she is notPage 15entitled to receive any of the proceeds of the policy. But, despiteDarin's contention to the contrary, it does not follow that Decedent'sfour children are each entitled to receive an equal share of theproceeds. The 1984 Form remains the controlling beneficiary designationform.74 And, it identifies Hall as the primary beneficiary andBrandon as the contingent beneficiary of the policy.75 Because Halleffectively waived her right to receive the proceeds of the policy,Brandon, as the contingent beneficiary, is entitled to receive all of theproceeds.76


For the foregoing reasons, Hall's motion for summary judgment isDENIED, and Darin's motion for summary judgment is ALLOWED IN PART andDENIED IN PART.


1. Compl. for Interpleader ("Compl.") ¶ 9.

2. Id.; See 29 U.S.C. § 1144(a).

3. See Compl. ¶ 9.

4. Id. ¶ 10.

5. Marital Agreement, submitted in supp. of Mot. of Def Darin E.Flinkstrom for Summ. J. on Compl. for Interpleader and Cross-ClaimAgainst Terri Hall, Ex. D ("Marital Agreement") at 1.

6. Dep. of Terri A. Hall, submitted in supp. of Mot. of Def. DarinE. Flinkstrom for Summ. J. on Compl. for Interpleader and Cross-ClaimAgainst Terri Hall, Ex. A ("Hall Dep.") at 7.

7. Id. at 6.

8. Id. at 7.

9. 1984 Beneficiary Designation Form, submitted in supp. of Mot. ofDef. Darin E. Flinkstrom for Summ. J. on Compl. for Interpleader andCross-Claim Against Terri Hall, Ex. C ("1984 Form").

10. Excerpt from the Life Insurance Policy, submitted in supp. ofMot. of Def. Darin E. Flinkstrom for Summ. J. on Compl. for Interpleaderand Cross-Claim Against Terri Hall, Ex. B at 168.

11. Hall Dep. at 9.

12. See Marital Agreement at 1.

13. Id. at 6.

14. J. of the Middlesex Probate and Family Court, submitted in supp.of Mot. of Def. Darin E. Flinkstrom for Summ. J. on Compl. forInterpleader and Cross-Claim Against Terri Hall, Ex. D.

15. Marital Agreement at 13.

16. Hall Dep. at 10.

17. Id. at 11.

18. Id.

19. Id. at 12-13; See Terri A. Hall's Mot. for Summ. J. with Mem. at 2(The marital "agreement . . . sought to resolve issues between theparties, including life insurance issues.").

20. See 2000 Beneficiary Designation Form, submitted in supp. of Mot.of Def. Darin E. Flinkstrom for Summ. J. on Compl. for Interpleader andCross-Claim Against Terri Hall, Ex. E.

21. See Id.

22. Aff of Darin Flinkstrom ("Darin Aff") ¶ 4.

23. Id. ¶¶ 5-6.

24. Id. ¶ 6.

25. Id. ¶ 7.

26. August 14, 2001 Letter, submitted in supp. of Darin Aff., Ex. A("2001 Letter"). Hall claims that the 2000 Form is invalid because it"applied only to a particular type of coverage that was not in force."Terri A. Hall's Mot. for Summ. J. with Mem. at 2. Although there appearsto be a dispute concerning why the 2000 Form is invalid, there is nodispute that the 2000 Form is, indeed, invalid.

27. 2001 Letter.

28. Darin Aff. ¶ 8.

29. Id. ¶ 9.

30. Id.

31. 2001 Beneficiary Designation Form, submitted in supp. of Mot. ofDef Darin E. Flinkstrom for Summ. J. on Compl. for Interpleader andCross-Claim Against Terri Hall, Ex. F.

32. Compl. ¶ 11.

33. Id. ¶¶ 12-13.

34. Id. ¶ 14.

35. Id. ¶ 15.

36. Id.

37. Id. ¶ 11.

38. Mullin v. Raytheon Co., 164 F.3d 696, 698 (1st Cir. 1999) (quotingWynne v. Tufts Univ. Sch. of Med., 976 F.2d 791. 794 (1st Cir. 1992)),cert. denied, 528 U.S. 811 (1999).

39. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). "In the lexicon of Rule 56, `genuine' connotesthat the evidence on the point is such that a reasonable jury, drawingfavorable inferences, could resolve the fact in the manner urged by thenonmoving party, and `material' connotes that a contested fact has thepotential to alter the outcome of the suit under the governing law if thecontroversy over it is resolved satisfactorily to the nonmovant."Blackiev. Maine, 75 F.3d 716, 721 (1st Cir. 1996).

40. Id. (quoting Nat'l Amusements, Inc. v. Town of Dedham, 43 F.3d 731.735 (1st Cir. 1995), cert. denied, 515 U.S. 1103(1995)).

41. Mullin, 164 F.3d at 698 (quoting Griggs-Ryan v. Smith, 904 F.2d 112,115 (1st Cir. 1990)).

42. Bloomfield v. Bernardi Automall Trust, 170 F. Supp.2d 36, 40 (D.Mass. 2001) (quoting Medina-Munoz v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. Co.,896 F.2d 5, 8 (1st Cir. 1990)).

43. Griggs-Ryan v. Smith, 904 F.2d 112, 115 (1st Cir. 1990).

44. Id.

45. This court believes that the 1984 Form is the controllingbeneficiary designation form, and it lists Hall as the primarybeneficiary of Decedent's life insurance policy. See 1984 Form. Darinargues that the 1984 Form is not the controlling beneficiary designationform. He maintains that this court should give legal effect to either the2000 Form or the 2001 Form. But, both of those forms are invalid. Thereis, after all, no question that Decedent knew that the 2000 Form wasconsidered to be "invalid." 2001 Letter. And, Decedent neither preparednor signed the 2001 Form. See Darin Aff ¶ 9.

46. Marital Agreement at 13.

47. Mohamed v. Kerr, 53 F.3d 911. 913 (8th Cir. 1995) cert. denied,516 U.S. 868(1995).

48. Brandon v. Travelers Ins. Co., 18 F.3d 1321, 1325 (5th Cir. 1994)(quoting 29 U.S.C. § 1144(a)). cert. denied, 513 U.S. 1081(1995).

49. See 29 U.S.C. § 1144(a); Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. Pettit,164 F.3d 858, 860-61 (4th Cir. 1998) (noting that ERISA "defines [an]employee benefit plan as a welfare or pension benefit plan," and that it"states that [a] life insurance plan[] qualifie[s] as [a] welfareplan[]").

50. E.g., Brown v. Connecticut Gen. Life Ins. Co., 934 F.2d 1193, 1195(11th Cir. 1991) (citing McMillan v. Parrott, 913 F.2d 310, 311 (6thCir. 1990)).

51. See e.g., Fox Valley & Vicinity Constr. Workers Pension Fund v.Brown, 897 F.2d 275, 278 (7th Cir. 1990), cert. denied, 498 U.S. 820(1990).

52. Brandon, 18 F.3d. at 1325.

53. Estate of Zienowicz v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 205 F. Supp.2d 339,343 (D. N.J. 2002); See Krishna v. Colgate Palmolive Co., 7 F.3d 11,16(2dCir. 1993); McMillan, 913 F.2d at 311-12.

54. Estate of Zienowicz, 205 F. Supp.2d at 342 (quoting29 U.S.C. § 1104(a)(1)(D)).

55. Id. at 343: See McMillan, 913 F.2d at 311-12.

56. E.g., McMillan, 913 F.2d at 312.

57. Estate of Zienowicz, 205 F. Supp.2d at 343; See, e.g., Estate ofAltobelli v. Int'l Bus. Machs. Corp., 77 F.3d 78, 80-82 (4th Cir. 1996);Mohamed v. Kerr, 53 F.3d 911, 914-15 (8th Cir. 1995), cert. denied,516 U.S. 868 (1995); Brandon, 18 F.3d at 1326-27; Metro. Life Ins. Co. v.Hanslip, 939 F.2d 904, 907 (10th Cir. 1991); Fox Valley & VicinityConstr. Workers Pension Fund v. Brown, 897 F.2d 275, 280-82 (7th Cir.1990), cert. denied, 498 U.S. 820 (1990).

58. Fox Valley & Vicinity Constr. Workers Pension Fund, 897 F.2d at281; See, e.g., Mohamed, 53 F.3d at 913.

59. E.g., Melton v. Melton, 324 F.3d 941, 945 (7th Cir. 2003); See,e.g., Mohamed, 53 F.3d at 914 ("[U]nder federal common law, a settlemententered into pursuant to a judgment of dissolution may divest a formerspouse of beneficiary rights to life insurance proceeds, even when thebeneficiary designation has not been changed before the death of theinsured.").

60. Melton, 324 F.3d at 945.

61. Id. at 945 (quoting Manning v. Haves, 212 F.3d 866, 874 (5th Cir.2000), cert. denied, 532 U.S. 941 (2001)): see also Brandon, 18 F.3d at1327 ("requiring under federal common law that any waiver of ERISAbenefits be explicit, voluntary, and made in good faith").

62. Melton, 324 F.3d at 945-46: See Mohamed, 53 F.3d at 914-15 ("[A]property settlement entered into pursuant to a dissolution may divestformer spouses of beneficiary rights in each other's life insurancepolicies, if the agreement makes it clear that the former spouses sointend."). The law of Massachusetts is not in conflict with the federalcommon law rule that has emerged. See Sfiles v. Sfiles, 487 N.E.2d 874,875 n.3 (Mass. App. Ct. 1986) ("Divorce does not revoke a designation ofbeneficiary unless the matter is expressly touched upon in the divorceproceedings or the insurance contract so provides.").

63. E.g., Estate of Altobelli v. Int'l Bus. Machs. Corp., 77 F.3d 78,80 (4th Cir. 1996) (quoting Krishna v. Colgate Palmolive Co., 7 F.3d 11,16 (2d Cir. 1993)).

64. Fox Valley & Vicinity Constr. Workers Pension Fund v. Brown,897 F.2d 275, 281 (7th Cir. 1990), cert. denied. 498 U.S. 820 (1990).

65. Id. at 281-82.

66. Id. at 282. This court refers to qualified domestic relationsorders "only to point out that there are situations when ERISA requiresplan administrators to consult documents outside the plans themselves."Estate of Altobelli, 77 F.3d at 81 n.*.

67. Fox Valley & Vicinity Constr. Workers Pension Fund, 897 F.2d at282. Similarly, the Fourth Circuit has declared that: giving effect to a waiver contained in a domestic relations order does not burden plan administrators in a manner violative of ERISA. ERISA was designed to simplify plan administration as much as possible, but it still requires administrators to consider divorce decrees to determine whether they are Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, [] which are enforceable. . . . Thus, . . . "[n]o such additional burdens will be imposed" by enforcing waivers.Estate of Altobelli, 77 F.3d at 81 (quoting Fox Valley & VicinityConstr. Workers Pension Fund, 897 F.2d at 282) (second alteration inoriginal).

68. See Melton v. Melton, 324 F.3d 941, 945-46 (7th Cir. 2003); Brandonv. Travelers Ins. Co., 18 F.3d 1321, 1326-27 (5th Cir. 1994), cert.denied, 513 U.S. 1081 (1995).

69. In fact, Hall has admitted that she "freely and voluntarily"entered into the agreement. Hall Dep. at 11.

70. Marital Agreement at 13.

71. Id.

72. Hall Dep. at 11.

73. Id. at 12-13.

74. See supra note 45.

75. See 1984 Form.

76. See, e.g., Fox Valley & Vicinity Constr. Workers Pension Fund v.Brown, 897 F.2d 275, 277-78, 282 (7th Cir. 1990) (indicating that if aprimary beneficiary waives his interest in an ERISA-regulated plan, thecontingent beneficiary is entitled to the same benefits that he wouldhave received had the primary beneficiary predeceased the contingentbeneficiary), cert. denied, 498 U.S. 820 (1990).

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