District, Salt Lake Dep't The Honorable Su Chon No.
Michael E. Day, Nathan Whittaker, Salt Lake City, for
S. King, Salt Lake City, for appellant
Justice Durham authored the opinion of the court, in which
Chief Justice Durrant, Associate Chief Justice Lee, Justice
Himonas, and Justice Pearce joined.
Linda Snyder and Tyler Hertzske each claim sole entitlement
to the death benefits of a life insurance policy (Policy)
held by decedent Edward Hertzske. There are two issues
presented in this case: (1) how Utah Code section
30-3-5(1)(e) should be interpreted in correlation with Utah
Code section 75-2-804; and (2) the proper interpretation of
"express terms" in section 75-2-804(2). The
district court granted summary judgment to T. Hertzske,
finding that there was "no genuine dispute as to any
material fact" and that T. Hertzske was entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. In support of the district
court's conclusion, the judge held that where section
30-3-5(1)(e) was not considered or included in the divorce
proceedings, it did not apply, and the Policy did not contain
"express terms" that would except it from
revocation under section 75-2-804(2). We affirm the district
court's grant of summary judgment.
In August 2004, while Linda Snyder and Edward Hertzske were
engaged, E. Hertzske obtained a $500, 000 life insurance
policy from Lincoln Benefit Life Co. (Lincoln). The Policy
named Ms. Snyder as the primary beneficiary and T. Hertzske
as the secondary beneficiary. The terms of the Policy
provided a method for naming new beneficiaries during E.
Hertzske's lifetime, but were silent as to whether the
designation of a spouse as a beneficiary would survive a
divorce. The Policy instructions regarding beneficiaries
states, in relevant part,
The beneficiary will receive the death benefit when the
insured dies and we have received due proof of death. The
beneficiary is as stated in the app[lication], unless
. . . .
We will pay the death benefit to the beneficiaries according
to the most recent written instructions we have received from
. . . .
You may name new beneficiaries. We will provide a form to be
signed. You must file it with us. Upon receipt, it is
effective as of the date you signed the form, subject to any