APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT
JORDAN FOSTER KNIGHT, a Minor, by Janet Lynn Keen, his
535 N.E.2d 62, 179 Ill. App. 3d 846, 128 Ill. Dec. 848 1989.IL.236
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. John S. Teschner, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE INGLIS delivered the opinion of the court. UNVERZAGT, P.J., and DUNN, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE INGLIS
Plaintiff, Jordan Foster Knight, a minor, by and through his mother and next friend, Janet Keen, brought this action seeking the imposition of a constructive trust upon life insurance proceeds paid on the life of Phillip Knight to defendant, Lorelyn Knight. The trial court entered judgment for defendant after a stipulated bench trial. We affirm.
Janet Keen, F/K/A Janet Knight, and Phillip Knight were married in Illinois in 1972. Plaintiff was the only child born of this marriage. In 1981, Phillip and Janet were divorced pursuant to a judgment entered in the superior court of Lake County, Indiana. At the time of their divorce, Philip and Janet entered into a property settlement and child custody agreement which was incorporated into their judgment for divorce. The settlement agreement provided, in pertinent part:
"All life insurance policies presently in effect are to be changed and the parties' child, Jordan Foster Knight, is to be sole beneficiary."
The settlement agreement was executed on May 28, 1981. As of that date, Phillip had a $50,000 life insurance policy with Mutual of New York. That policy listed Janet as beneficiary.
On June 1, 1981, Phillip's employer instituted a group life insurance program for employees with State Mutual Life Assurance Company of America (State Mutual). Phillip enrolled in the program on June 5, 1981, and named plaintiff as his beneficiary.
On June 9, 1981, the court approved Phillip and Janet's settlement agreement and entered a judgment of dissolution. Phillip continued to maintain both the Mutual of New York policy naming Janet as beneficiary and the State Mutual policy naming plaintiff as beneficiary. However, contrary to the terms of the settlement agreement, Phillip neglected to execute a change of beneficiary form and name plaintiff beneficiary of the Mutual of New York policy.
In February 1984, Phillip married defendant. In October 1984, he was diagnosed as having pancreatic cancer. On October 17, 1984, he executed a change of beneficiary form and named defendant beneficiary of the State Mutual policy. Plaintiff was made contingent beneficiary. No changes were made regarding Phillip's prior policy with Mutual of New York. Phillip died on December 31, 1984. The $41,000 proceeds of the State Mutual policy were paid to defendant and the $50,000 proceeds from the Mutual of New York policy were paid to Janet. Janet did not learn of the existence of the State Mutual policy and the distribution of those proceeds until February or March 1985. She subsequently brought this action on plaintiff's behalf for the establishment of an equitable trust and/or a relinquishment of the $41,000 insurance proceeds. The trial court entered judgment for defendant after a stipulated bench trial, and this appeal followed.
As issue in this appeal is whether, under the terms of the settlement agreement, Phillip could designate anyone but plaintiff as the ...