Slain Minnesota Marine's dad barred from share of $500,000 payout

Marine Corps body bearers march from a funeral
Marine Corps body bearers march from a funeral

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Levi Angell, of Cloquet, was killed in the line of duty in 2004 while serving in Anbar Province, Iraq. Before deployment, he had designated his mother as the sole beneficiary of his military life insurance policy and a related federal death benefit. When he died, a $500,000 payout was on the table.

Here's the thing: Angell's parents were divorced in 2008 after 27 years of marriage, and his 67-year-old father, who has no money in the bank and lives off Social Security, just found out that he won't be getting the $150,000 of those benefits that he was previously awarded by the Carlton County District Court. On Tuesday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals overturned the lower court's ruling:

The district court properly classified the life-insurance and death-gratuity benefits as Loretta Angell's nonmarital property because they were intended as a gift to her only, and not to Gordon Angell. But the district court‟s awarding of a portion of her nonmarital property to Gordon Angell under state law conflicts with the authoritatively superior federal anti-attachment provisions that protect the funds from attachment, levy, or seizure either before or after the beneficiary‟s receipt. We therefore reverse on that issue only and remand for the district court to make a property distribution consistent with this opinion.

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