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The Cincinnati Life Ins. Co. v. Estate of Mangino

Court of Appeals of Iowa

November 26, 2014

THE CINCINNATI LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, an Ohio Corporation, Petitioner,
v.
ESTATE OF MARILYN MANGINO, THOMAS P. GASSMAN, Respondents, and POLLY SKOCELAS and RHETT RESWIK, Respondents-Appellees, and AARON GASSMAN, ADAM GASSMAN, ALEX, GASSMAN, and ANDY GASSMAN, Respondents-Appellants

Editorial Note:

This decision is published in table format in the North Western Reporter.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Michael J. Shubatt, Judge. Aaron, Adam, Alex, and Andy Gassman appeal from the district court's decision voiding a change of designation of beneficiaries on two annuities.

Roger J. Kurt, Dubuque, for appellants.

Todd J. Locher of Locher & Locher, P.L.C., Farley, for appellees.

Heard by Danilson, C.J., and Doyle and Tabor, JJ.

OPINION

DOYLE, J.

Acting under a power of attorney executed by Marilyn Mangino, Marilyn's son-in-law Thomas Gassman, as successor attorney-in-fact, executed change-of-beneficiary forms to add his four sons (Marilyn's grandsons) as beneficiaries to two of Marilyn's annuities. The district court voided Gassman's change of designation of beneficiaries, and Marilyn's grandsons appeal. We affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

Marilyn Mangino was born in 1928. She married Walter Pfab, and they had three children: Gary Pfab, Polly Skocelas, and Sherry Gassman.

In 2004, Marilyn was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. In May 2004, Marilyn, aging and beginning to suffer the effects of Alzheimer's, executed a general power of attorney.[1] Sherry was named to act as Marilyn's primary attorney-in-fact, and Thomas Gassman, Sherry's husband, was nominated as successor attorney-in-fact. The power of attorney was effective immediately.

Later that year, Marilyn executed her last will and testament. It provided that, after payment of debts, 30% of her estate was to be divided equally between her then living grandchildren, with the remaining 70% to be divided equally between Sherry, Gary, and Polly. Sherry was named executor.

Additionally, Marilyn purchased an annuity through Cincinnati Life Insurance Company (Cincinnati Life). She purchased another annuity from Cincinnati Life in July 2005. Both of the annuities designated Sherry and Polly as primary beneficiaries to share equally. No contingent beneficiaries were designated.[2]

In 2006, Sherry discovered she had cancer and had only two years to live. In late 2006, Marilyn was unable to live by herself, and she moved in with Sherry and Thomas for a short time. By February 2007, Marilyn required nursing care and moved to a nursing home. Sherry passed away in 2008, and Thomas then became Marilyn's successor attorney-in-fact under the power of attorney. By this time, Marilyn was incapable of handling her financial affairs. ...


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