Double Homicide Clouds Life Insurance Policy Payout

Printed from:

A double homicide in Middleborough in December 2020 has clouded the payout of a life insurance policy, partly because it’s not clear whether the husband or wife died first.

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company is asking a federal judge to decide who gets the money.

David C. True, 52, and his wife Renee, 55, died of stab wounds on December 10, 2020 at their home in Middleborough, Massachusetts. Their son, Ryan True, 21 at the time, has been charged with murdering them. News reports suggest he is autistic or bipolar or possibly both. He is being held at Bridgewater State Hospital while his case is pending.

David True, the foreman of an asphalt company, had a group life insurance policy through his employer with a $50,000 death benefit plus a $50,000 rider for accidental death, which includes homicide. David’s wife Renee was the primary beneficiary of the policy; Ryan was the contingent beneficiary.

A primary beneficiary gets the money when the person whose life is insured dies. A contingent beneficiary gets the money if the primary beneficiary is already dead when the person whose life is insured dies.

Therein lies the problem. The death certificates for David True and Renee True say they died on the same day, but they don’t have the time of death, which is not clear.

If David True died first, then Renee was his primary beneficiary, if only briefly. Her subsequent death would mean that the life insurance death benefit would go to her estate.

If Renee True died first, then when David True died his life insurance policy death benefit would go to a contingent beneficiary. The money “may be payable to Ryan as the Decedent’s contingent beneficiary, if not otherwise precluded by state law … or federal common law,” according to a complaint filed on behalf of the life insurance company.

Like other states, Massachusetts has a so-called “slayer statute,” which prevents people from benefiting from the estate of someone they have killed. A Massachusetts statute directs courts to “consider any person convicted of the unlawful killing of the decedent as predeceasing the decedent for the purpose of distribution and disposition of the decedent’s estate …”

Other possible beneficiaries of the life insurance policy are Renee True’s older son (who is David True’s stepson) or David True’s mother, according to court papers.

Lawyers for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company filed an interpleader lawsuit, which among other things allows an insurance company to initiate a legal case asking a court to resolve a dispute among possible beneficiaries of an insurance policy.

The suit was filed Friday, September 16, 2022 in U.S. District Court in Boston.


New to NewBostonPost?  Conservative media is hard to find in Massachusetts.  But you’ve found it.  Now dip your toe in the water for two bucks — $2 for two months.  And join the real revolution.