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  • Writer's pictureTeam ArthaPurna

Married Women's Protection Act

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

We believe that purchasing a term insurance policy will protect our family, particularly our wife and children, in the event of any unanticipated events. But simply purchasing a life insurance policy won't guarantee that your loved ones will receive the insurance payout in the case of your passing. Your nominee or beneficiary may not get the funds from your term life insurance claim.

It may be seized by family members or others to whom you may owe money (creditors) in your absence. By purchasing a term insurance plan under the MWP Act, you can make sure that your wife and kids receive the sum assured.

By purchasing a term insurance policy under the Married Women's Property Act of 1874 (MWP Act), a married male policyholder can help safeguard his family's financial interests while he is away. Once an insurance is purchased under the MWP Act, the court cannot attach it to collect debts. In the event of your death, only your wife and children will be eligible to receive the insured sum.

What is MWPA?

The Act guarantees that an Indian married woman has a distinct and exclusive right to her property. Accordingly, the MWP Act forbids anyone, not even a married woman's spouse, parents, in-laws, children, or brothers, from owning, using, or claiming her separate property. It is an available legal protection for a woman's assets that ensures the financial security of both she and her dependents.

The Married Women's Protection Act of 1874 was revised in 1923 to include life insurance contracts issued in the names of the married woman, her children, or both. According to Section 6 of the MWP Act:

"a policy of insurance effected by any married man on his own life and expressed on the face of it to be for the benefit of his wife, or of his wife and children, or any of them, shall ensure and be deemed to be a trust for the benefit of his wife, or of his wife and children, or any of them according to the interests so expressed, and shall not, so long as any object of the trust remains, be subject to the control of the husband, or to his creditors, or form part of his estate. "

Accordingly, the MWP Act mandates that if a married man—including a divorcee or a widower—purchases a life insurance plan with the MWP addendum, the insurance benefits—whether received at maturity or upon death—become the sole property of designated beneficiaries, with no other party—not even the policyholder himself—having any claim to them.

The entire amount is considered to be independent from the policyholder's estate, therefore in the event of the policyholder's untimely death, these benefits cannot be utilised to pay off debts or loans or constitute shared family property.

How is my family protected by the MWP Act?

Today, everyone needs life insurance. Since the epidemic, the volatility of life has been furthermore obvious, making our family's financial security a primary priority. The simplest life insurance plans are term ones, which only pay out a death benefit to beneficiaries upon the death of the policyholder. Life insurance policies, on the other hand, also include a savings element and maturity benefits. However, beneficiaries or dependents frequently become prey to lenders, greedy family members, or loan hawks who try to take the "insurance money" for loan or debt payback.

The term policy that falls under the MWP Act's jurisdiction shall be regarded as a trust. Only trustees will have authority over the insurance, including servicing and benefit payments. The trust receives the policy proceeds in the event of a death claim, and trustees are the only people who may make a claim on them. It cannot be used to satisfy debts, be claimed by family members, or be included in the proposer's estate's will. The trust will hold the claim funds for the wife's and/or child's benefit (ren). Consequently, your wife and children's financial future is secured.

In the event of your death, your creditors will have the first claim on your policy proceeds if you are a salaried individual with a home/personal loan or the owner of a firm with accrued debts. Your wife and/or child(ren) will be the only ones who may access the claim amount when you get term insurance under the MWP Act, allowing you to financially safeguard their future.

Benefits of MWPA:

  • Only your wife and kids can be insured under the insurance coverage. The beneficiaries cannot be altered after the policy has been purchased with a MWP amendment.

  • All religions are eligible for insurance under the MWP Act of 1874. If a Muslim man is the policyholder, he is required to obtain separate insurance for his wife and children.

  • Policyholders may divide the proceeds among their beneficiaries. It may be shared equally or according to predetermined percentages. According to the MWP Act, the percentages must be chosen at the time of purchasing the policy and cannot be modified afterwards.

  • There is no need to create a separate trust for beneficiaries because the insurance policy serves as a trust under the MWP Act of 1874. Policyholders are not required to appoint a trustee to manage the proceeds, but they are free to do so. Only the trustees may make a benefit claim at the time. Creditors, family members, or the policyholder themselves cannot make a claim on it or include it in their will. It is a separate trust set up exclusively for the wife and kids.

  • The insurance policy functions as a trust under the MWP Act of 1874, thus there is no need to set up a separate trust for beneficiaries. Policyholders are free to choose a trustee to oversee the proceeds; however, they are not obligated to do so. At that point, only the trustees may submit a benefit claim. It cannot be claimed by creditors, family members, or the policyholder themselves, nor can it be left to someone else in a will. A second trust has been established just for the wife and children.

  • A term insurance with the MWP addendum ensures that the wife and children are protected in the event of family property disputes resulting from property division or any other joint family dispute if the policyholder lives in a joint family or is a member of a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF). This is so because any insurance contract covered by the MWP Act does not belong to the policyholders individually or collectively as a family. It has one distinct title that is granted to the designated beneficiary, which is typically the wife and/or children.

  • Any family or guardian working on behalf of beneficiaries cannot claim the title in an insurance under MWP since it has a single title. Only the designated beneficiaries, chosen at the time of purchasing the policy, are eligible to receive insurance benefits.

Who Can Opt for Insurance Under MWP Act?

According to the MWP Act, a policyholder may be a married person, a widower, a divorcee, or a married person. Under the MWP Act, a married woman may get an insurance policy to protect her children's finances.

As Trustees, there may be one or more people chosen. The MWP addition must be documented together with the approval of the Trustee, who must be older than 18 years old. Trustees merely serve as the policy's manager for the ultimate beneficiaries, which are the wife and/or children, and are not the policy's primary beneficiary. Trustees may be added, withdrawn, or replaced in accordance with the policyholder's wishes.

For the family's financial security in the event of the policyholders' untimely passing, salaried individuals with outstanding loans, business owners with accumulated debt, members of joint families and HUFs, as well as people with irregular or unstable income who live on credit, must choose life insurance under the MWP Act.

Beneficiaries under the MWP Act of 1874 in insurance:

The beneficiary can be:

  • Wife and children (both biological and adopted),

  • or just the wife,

  • or just the children (natural & adopted).

Even though the husband keeps the policy and pays the payments, neither he nor any other relative may ever be a beneficiary under this policy.

Once chosen and designated, beneficiaries won't change for the duration of the policy.

The wife is still a beneficiary and cannot be altered in the event of divorce.

In the event of the beneficiary wife's early death, the policyholder's legal heir is entitled to the insurance proceeds. Therefore, it is crucial to list many beneficiaries when purchasing insurance.

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