Check policies on separation
The fact that a divorce costs a lot of money is not only due to the court and lawyer fees. What few couples suspect: Insurers are also cashing in. According to the Federation of Insured Persons (BdV), judges have now even allowed companies to collect up to 500 euros if, for example, they are to divide a private pension insurance between the partners.
The BdV has compiled some important points that couples should already consider during the separation phase:
- Often overlooked is the change in subscription rights for life insurance policies.
- In the case of personal liability insurance, the policyholder’s spouse is also insured during the separation period. That changes with divorce. Nevertheless, already in the year of separation everyone should take care of his own contract. This is because the insurance cover could be jeopardised if the policyholder fails to pay the premium or insures a new partner at the same time. Regardless of this, the children remain insured through their parents.
- In principle, the household contents insurance remains with the policyholder. If he’s the one moving out, he takes those with him. Interesting: Despite moving out, this policy is still valid for both apartments up to three months after the next premium due date. However, the sum insured may have to be adjusted to the new circumstances. The partner remaining in the previous domicile must conclude a separate contract at the latest after the three months if required.
- Nothing changes in the car insurance, unless the premium changes after the move due to a different regional class.
- People with private health insurance should have existing contracts through which they are both insured split up immediately. As a result, they each become independent policyholders and do not have to bill the partner.
- There is an urgent need for action for spouses who are insured in the statutory health insurance scheme without having to pay contributions and who do not work. They must apply for their own membership within three months of the divorce. The children remain unchanged co-insured.
Investment in tax havens
Anyone wishing to transfer assets to foreign foundations or companies cannot avoid taking out insurance in the countries concerned. Only a written assessment by at least two independent advisors can provide effective protection against criminal charges. Not infrequently, such “Persilscheine” are formulated so imprecisely that the tax authorities and the public prosecutor’s office are later not impressed by them. In Germany, it is possible to obtain binding written information from the tax authorities for a specific intended design. This is usually less expensive than having to by its foreign bank(st)er or foundation trustee because of a “sudden recognized” tax offence and to have a to risk punishment in Germany.
Too late modification of the subscription right
Some policyholders (VN) decide too late that they would like to change the subscription right of their life insurance policy(ies). If the policyholder instructs his broker to make the change, it is important that this is regularly done in writing in accordance with the insurance conditions. If the policyholder is already deceased when the notification is received by the insurer (VR), the request for change will come to nothing. In this case, the originally revocable beneficiary has already acquired the irrevocable right to the insurance benefit upon the death of the policyholder (LG Dortmund, judgment of 28.02.2008 – 20214/07). If the broker is responsible for the delay in notifying the change, he often owes the “new” beneficiary the sum insured as compensation.
by Dr. Johannes Fiala
by courtesy of
www.vdl.de (published in VDL Journal 03/2011, page 33)
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About the author
Dr. Johannes Fiala has been working for more than 25 years as a lawyer and attorney with his own law firm in Munich. He is intensively involved in real estate, financial law, tax and insurance law. The numerous stages of his professional career enable him to provide his clients with comprehensive advice and to act as a lawyer in the event of disputes.
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