Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly article, “Life insurance policy exempt in Chapter 7 bankruptcy,” quotes trust litigation partner, Joseph L. Bierwirth, Jr

September 13, 2017

In a recent bankruptcy case, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in Massachusetts held that a personally owned life insurance policy was exempt from the debtor’s bankruptcy estate where the debtor’s revocable trust was the named beneficiary of the policy. The court distinguished the case from an earlier decision within which the life insurance was payable to the owner’s estate.

After analyzing the case from a bankruptcy perspective, the article noted that Hemenway & Barnes partner, Joseph Bierwirth, “who handles trust litigation, was puzzled by Feeney’s analysis.”

“Assets held in revocable trusts are, for the most part, treated as the donor’s property during lifetime,” he said. “Such trusts are often called ‘will substitutes.’ For these reasons, I have a hard time distinguishing a life insurance policy payable on death to the owner’s estate from one payable to a revocable trust.”

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