The Married Woman Property (MWP) Act can protect the life insurance death claim benefit from creditors and ensure that your wife and children are secured. Lack of awareness and loss of control prevents insured from going for this option. Find out how you can benefit from it
Harish was running business on borrowed capital. After his sudden demise, his creditors did their best to go after Harish’s assets. Luckily for his wife, Harish had purchased a term life insurance policy choosing the option of Section 6 of the MWP Act. It ensured that Harish’s wife got the death benefit. But many are not so lucky due to lack of awareness of such a feature available with your life insurance policy.
Today, buying on credit has become commonplace. As a responsible citizen you should make payments during your lifetime on any loan—credit card, outstanding debt payment, etc. But, it also makes sense to ensure that your wife and children really get the death benefit from your life insurance policy.
Section 6 of the MWP Act allows an individual to buy a policy for himself under the Act and create a trust for the same. There is no need for creating a trust under the Trust Act. The beneficiaries (wife and/or children) can also be trustees. The policyholder has the option to change the trustees at any point in time. Even a married woman can buy MWP policy on her name with her children as beneficiaries; though the husband will not get anything from the policy. It will be considered as a separate asset as if she is unmarried.
The procedure is simple, but it has to be done at the time of buying the policy. At the time of making the application, a separate form has to be filled by the proposer for it to be covered under MWP Act. The form seeks details of the beneficiaries, the share of the benefits that are to be accrued to them and the trustees.
According to Sanjay Tiwari, vice president of strategy and product, HDFC Life, “There is lack of awareness and very low percent of MWP policy sales; we do train our agents for highlighting about MWP benefit to customers. It clicks with specific customers who have their own businesses and want to ensure that wife and children really benefit from the policy.”
Before you jump in to go for Section 6 of MWP, do it only for genuine reasons. If the life insurance policy has been purchased with an intention to defraud creditors, the protection under MWP may not work. Creditors can assert their right to get paid out of the proceeds of the life insurance policy.
According to a veteran life insurance agent, “MWP policy sales have reduced over the years after estate tax and gift tax were abolished in India. Very few customers go for it today.”
Why go for it?
Why not go for it?
• The policyholder of a MWP policy loses all control over the policy with the exception of paying premiums. The policy becomes a trust property (wife and/or children)
• There can be no changes to the policy without the consent of the beneficiaries
• The beneficiaries of the plan, once declared, cannot be changed at any time
• The proposer cannot take any loan or assign the policy to another person
• The policy maturity, surrender value will go to the trust (and hence the beneficiaries only).
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