Two recent cases involving the disposition of proceeds of insurance policies covering property given by specific bequest and destroyed immediately before testator's death reach apparently opposite, but readily distinguishable, results. In a Kansas case a farmer had bequeathed his realty to his children and his personality to his wife. A tornado destroyed the farm buildings and fatally injured the farmer. Held: the proceeds from insurance covering the farm buildings descended to the heirs of the realty. An Oklahoma case involved the accidental destruction of an insured automobile and consequent death of its owner. Held: the insurance proceeds went to the legatee of the personal estate; only the wreckage of the automobile went to the legatee of the car.
Both cases involved destruction of a specific bequest between the time of the execution of the will and death of the testator. In one the bequest was of personality; in the other it was of realty. Therein lies the distinction between the two cases and the basis for a reconciliation of their holdings.
Allan J. Garfinkle,
Recent Cases: Wills — Descent of Insurance Proceeds Covering Extinguished Specific Bequests,
33 Neb. L. Rev. 116
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