• Kyodo News


The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that when a wife is the beneficiary of a life insurance policy taken out by her husband, only her heirs can receive the payout in the event she and her spouse die at the same time, including in an accident or joint suicide.

The top court, in its first such ruling, rejected claims that the husband’s heirs should also be guaranteed as beneficiaries.

The court ruled on two separate cases in which the heirs of dead wives argued they should be the sole beneficiaries after insurers tried to pay to the heirs of both the husband and wife.

In one of the cases, the couple did not have children, while in the other the parents killed their children before committing suicide.

The Supreme Court upheld lower court decisions that only the heirs of the wives, the designated beneficiaries, could receive the insurance money in the event of simultaneous death.

The ruling will affect similar cases where couples die without leaving children.

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