Mearns v. Scharbach

In Mearns v. Scharbach, 103 Wn. App. 498, 12 P.3d 1048 (Wash. Ct. App. 2000), the court considered and rejected the same argument raised by Pamela here. In that case, an ex-spouse asserted she was entitled to life insurance proceeds because the decedent spouse had allegedly made various statements that he wished the policy benefits to go to her. Id. at 1053. Washington's revocation by divorce statute provided that upon entry of a dissolution decree, the former spouse was deemed to have predeceased the insured spouse. Id. at 1051. The court rejected the ex-spouse's argument that the decedent's oral statements were sufficient to negate the operation of the statute and the legislature's purpose in enacting it. Id. at 1053. The court concluded any post-divorce redesignation of the ex-spouse had to be in writing. Id. The court also explained its conclusion was consistent with the terms of the policy which required beneficiary changes to be in writing. Id.