from the Nineteenth Judicial District Court In and for the
Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana Docket Number
633, 783, Honorable Todd Hernandez, Judge.
Y. Barrasso Kristin L. Beckman New Orleans, LA, Counsel for
Plaintiff-Appellee Allstate Life Insurance Company.
Kenneth L. Riche Baton Rouge, LA, Counsel for
Defendants-Appellants Thurman S. Offord, Sr., Kimberlee
Katrina Offord, Kevin Edward Darr, and Kenneth John Darr.
Bums, Jr. LamM. Tran Covington, LA, Counsel for
Defendant-Appellee Alfreda Smith.
BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., GUIDRY, McCLENDON, WELCH, AND THERIOT,
surviving spouse and children of the deceased insured appeal
a judgment in a concursus proceeding awarding insurance
benefits to the deceased's mother. Based on the record
before us, we find error in the trial court's judgment,
and accordingly, we vacate that judgment and remand this
matter for further proceedings.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
August 1997, Tanya Offord, then Tanya Darr, obtained a policy
of life insurance from Allstate Life Insurance Company in
which she named her two sons, Kevin and Kenneth Darr, and her
then husband, Robert Darr, as beneficiaries under the policy.
In January 2002, Tanya changed the primary beneficiary of the
life insurance policy to Alfreda Smith, her mother. Then in
February 2009, Tanya married Thurman Offord, Sr.,
with whom she had one child, Kimberlee Katrina Offord, born
in September 2006.
her marriage to Thurman, Tanya submitted a change of
beneficiary form to Allstate, wherein she listed Thurman and
her three children as the primary beneficiaries of her life
insurance policy. She further listed her mother as the sole
contingent beneficiary and listed Thurman and her mother as
the adult custodians to receive payment of any proceeds from
the policy that might become payable to her children during
response to Tanya's beneficiary change request, Allstate
sent a letter dated March 31, 2009, to Tanya at the address
she listed on the beneficiary change form she submitted on
March 28, 2009. In that letter, Allstate acknowledged receipt
of Tanya's beneficiary change request, but informed her
that the request could not be processed at that time because
only one custodian per child could be named and because she
had signed the change form with a surname that was different
from what the company had on file. Thus, Allstate requested
that Tanya "choose one custodian, and if [she wished],
designate the second as successor custodian and resubmit the
request." Allstate included a new beneficiary change
request form with the letter for Tanya to complete and
return. Tanya did not resubmit the change of beneficiary
request form with the requested information.
2, 2014, Tanya died after suffering an ischemic stroke.
Subsequently, Tanya's mother, Alfreda, submitted a claim
to Allstate for the life insurance proceeds from the policy
issued to Tanya. Upon becoming aware of competing claims for
the proceeds, Allstate notified Alfreda in a letter dated
July 2, 2014, of the following, in pertinent part:
Although you were provided claim forms to complete, we are
now contacting you regarding your daughter's attempt to
change the beneficiary designation from you to her husband
and children. Once you have had an opportunity to review this
information, please contact [the Allstate claims
representative] to discuss further. If you agree that this
was your daughter's intent, we will request that you sign
a disclaimer acknowledging your agreement to the change of
to receive the requested acknowledgement from Alfreda,
Allstate filed a petition to initiate concursus proceedings
on September 25, 2014, wherein it named Alfreda, Thurman, and
Tanya's three children as defendants. Allstate then deposited
the life insurance proceeds plus accrued interest in the
registry of the court and requested that all persons having
competing claims to the proceeds assert their claims
contradictorily against all other parties with the court to
determine the proper payee of the funds deposited.
named defendants filed answers to the petition asserting
their respective claims to the deposited funds, and by
agreement of the parties, on January 7, 2016, the matter was
submitted to the trial court to decide the merits based on
the memoranda of the parties and the documentary evidence
introduced. After taking the matter under advisement, the
trial court issued written reasons for judgment finding the
While the evidence suggests that Mrs. Offord may have desired
or even had the intent to change the beneficiary on her life
insurance policy when she submitted specific instructions and
documents to Allstate on March 28, 2009, the evidence does
not explain why she failed to respond to the request for
clarification from Allstate in [its] letter to her dated
March 31, 2009. Contractually, the policy's beneficiary
designation never changed after Allstate accepted the change
of beneficiary request from Mrs. Tanya Darr naming Alfreda S.
Smith as the beneficiary in 2002. Allstate never accepted the
change request from her in 2009 even though she made a
written request to do so on March 28, 2009.
Who knows what the decedent's intent was after March 28,
2009 and there is no evidence to show that her desire or
intent to make the changes remained after her receipt of the
letter from Allstate on March 31, 2009 requesting
clarification and attaching a new form for her to complete.
Therefore, the evidence, and the inferences drawn therefrom,
leads the court to reasonably conclude that she may have no
longer desired to make the changes since the evidence shows
that she took no action to perfect her desire to make the
changes in the beneficiaries for the next five years until
her death on May 2, 2014.
finding, the trial court signed a written judgment on April
18, 2016, in favor of Alfreda, awarding her the sum of $151,
192.88, plus accumulated interest, from the funds deposited
in the registry of the court. After the denial of their
motion for new trial, Thurman and ...