Assigned on Briefs December 2, 2016
from the Circuit Court for Robertson County No.
74CC1-2014-CV-33 Ross H. Hicks, Judge
brought a declaratory judgment action asking the court to
determine the proper beneficiary of the proceeds of a life
insurance policy rider insuring the life of the named
insured's child; the named insured had designated her
mother as the beneficiary of the policy and rider. Upon the
child's death, the named insured was prevented by law
from receiving the proceeds, and the insurer asked for a
declaration of whether the named insured's
disqualification also prevented the named beneficiary from
receiving the proceeds or whether the estate of the child
would receive the proceeds, in accordance with the
designation of beneficiary in the policy. The trial court
determined that the policy's designation was inequitable
and awarded the proceeds to the estate of the child. We have
determined that the disqualification of the named insured
from receiving the proceeds of the policy does not invalidate
the designation of beneficiary and, accordingly, reverse the
decision of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Reversed; Case Remanded.
Benjamin K. Dean, Springfield, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Lynne Clark Meeks.
Morris Hadden and Caroline Ross Williams, Erie, Pennsylvania,
for the appellee, Erie Family Life Insurance Company.
Anthony Maldonado, Hermitage, Tennessee, Pro Se. Tiffany Dawn
Sampson, Greenbrier, Tennessee, Pro Se.
Garth Click, Springfield, Tennessee, Guardian ad litem, for
the minor siblings.
Richard H. Dinkins, J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which D. Michael Swiney, C.J., and Arnold B. Goldin, J.,
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
RICHARD H. DINKINS, JUDGE
February 21, 2012, Erie Family Life Insurance Company
("Erie") issued to Tiffany Sampson a twenty-year
term life insurance policy insuring her life; Lynne Meeks,
Ms. Sampson's mother, was named as the beneficiary of the
life insurance policy. At the time the policy was issued, Ms.
Sampson was the mother of four children: Lindsey, Landon,
Logan, and Adrian. Ms. Sampson also purchased a
Children's Term Insurance Rider ("the Rider"),
insuring the life of each child in the amount of $10, 000.00.
The Rider contained the following language:
The beneficiary of this rider is:
1. first, the insured, if living; ...