We think that buying a term insurance policy will ensure the well-being of our family, specifically our wife and children in case of any unforeseen events. Merely buying a life insurance cover alone will not necessarily ensure that your loved ones get the insurance amount in the event of your death. Your term life insurance claim money may not reach your nominee or beneficiary.
In your absence, it can be taken by your relatives or people to whom you may owe money (creditors). You can ensure that the sum assured is indeed passed on to your wife and children by taking a term insurance plan under the MWP Act.
For a married, male policyholder, availing of a term insurance plan under the Married Women's Property Act, 1874 (MWP Act) helps in protecting your family's financial interests in your absence. Once a policy is availed under the MWP Act, it may not be attached by courts for repayment of your debts*. Only your wife and children will be entitled to the sum assured in the event of your demise.
What is the MWP Act?
How does the MWP Act protect my family?
The term policy under the purview of the MWP Act will be considered as a trust. Only trustees will have control of the policy including servicing, and the receipt of the benefit amount. In case of a death claim, the policy proceeds are received by the trust and can only be claimed by trustees. It cannot be claimed by creditors, relatives or form a part of the will (estate of the proposer)*. The trust shall be holding the claim proceeds for the benefit of the wife and/or child(ren). Hence, the financial future of your wife and children is protected.
For instance, if you are a salaried person with a home/personal loan or the owner of a business and have accumulated debts, your creditors will have the first claim on your policy proceeds in the event of your death. When you buy term insurance under the MWP Act, your wife and/or child(ren) will be the only ones who will have access to the claim amount – enabling you to secure their future financially.
This is also an excellent solution for a joint family setup, wherein there could be several complications in the ownership of property. Some fine prints might not be explicitly specified thereby increasing the scope of family disputes over money and property. In such cases, a policy covered under the MWP Act will give a clear title to the beneficiary.
The beneficiaries (wife and/or child(ren)) once mentioned in the policy remain unchanged throughout the term. Once the policy is issued, neither will it be considered part of the insured's business assets (estate) nor will it be targeted by the creditors/lenders of the business. This means that no one can exercise control over the benefit amount in the event of the insured's demise, except the insured's wife and child(ren) with which it seals their future in the right way.
How do you buy term insurance under the MWP Act?
With ICICI Pru iProtect Smart term insurance, you can easily avail of the plan online under the MWP Act. While you are buying the plan, in the application form, you will see this question: I would like to buy this policy under the Married Women's Property Act, 1874.
Just select "YES" for this question. Once selected, you will have to enter the beneficiary and trustee details e.g. the beneficiary name, relationship, date of birth and benefit share (in %). You can only choose your wife/child/children as beneficiaries. You can add multiple beneficiaries.
Who should opt for the MWP Act?
- Business people and salaried individuals with loans or liabilities.
- People who want to protect their wife/child(ren) from creditors/relatives who might have fraudulent intentions.
The benefit amount with term life insurance can be a huge sum enough to protect your loved ones' future in your absence financially. So it will be the ideal decision if everybody who is buying term life insurance chooses to protect their loved ones under the MWP Act.
Let's consider a scenario - Mr. Mathur, a salaried individual, took a home loan a few years ago. He bought a term insurance policy online and endorsed it under the MWP Act with his spouse and child as the beneficiaries. After Mr. Mathur's sudden demise, the bank approached the court to clear the home loan with the policy proceeds. The case got ruled out against them and the proceeds went to his wife and child as they were protected under the MWP Act*.
Let’s consider another scenario – Mr. Verma is a businessman who borrowed some capital to expand his business. He bought a term insurance policy online under the MWP Act, 1874 with his spouse as the beneficiary. After his sudden demise, his creditors approached the court and sought their right to get paid out of the proceeds of the term insurance policy. Since the policy was covered under the MWP Act, the creditors lost the case and the sum assured benefit was ordered to be paid to his wife*.
In both the above scenarios, the MWP Act, 1874 played a crucial role in protecting the future of the families. In today’s world, ‘buying on credit’ and ‘building assets on loan’ have become a common trend. Employed individuals or people in business, alike rely on credit (home loan, personal loan, business loan, consumer loan, etc.) to achieve goals. In this kind of scenario, how do you make sure that only your dependents receive the insurance policy claim proceeds in case of your uneventful death? This is where the MWP Act, 1874 helps you in protecting your family's future financially.
A Surrender request has to come from the policyholder and be signed by the trustee/received from the trustee directly. Surrender proceeds will be paid to the trust for the benefit of the beneficiary, as stated in the policy.
Due to lack of awareness, very few policies are being taken under the MWP Act. Life insurance is a tool to protect the dependent family members. If this purpose is to be achieved in its fullness, then having the life insurance plan availed under the MWP Act may be considered. So, the next time you are buying a life insurance policy, suggest you avail it under the MWP Act. But, do not misuse the MWP Act to intentionally defraud your creditors.
As a married man, you can add your wife or children as beneficiaries in the MWP Act* of your term life insurance plan. You can choose from the following options:
- Appoint only your wife as the sole beneficiary
- Appoint only your children as the sole beneficiaries
- Appoint your wife and children together as beneficiaries
You cannot choose another family member like your parents or siblings as the beneficiary in the MWP Act.
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* Nothing herein contained shall operate to destroy or impede the right of any creditor to be paid out of the proceeds of any policy of assurance, which may have been effected with intent to defraud creditors. In case of any third party claim in the Courts of India with regards the insurance proceeds, the amount shall be subject to the judiciary directions. Please seek professional legal advice for the applicability of this provision.
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