Married Womens Property Act 1874 (MWPA) and Life Insurance

The Married Womens Property Act of 1874 was enacted to protect the rights of married women. Few specific clauses of the Act were:

  • Married woman’s earnings to be her separate property
  • Any liability arising out of this separate property will have to be borne by the woman separately
  • Husband shall not be liable for any debts contracted before marriage
  • A married woman can enact a Life Insurance policy.

But the most important benefit available to current Life Insurance seekers is that it empowers a Life Insurance holder to ensure that the benefits of the policy would be available to his surviving wife and family. It would not be used to pay off any debts that the insured had.

The MWPA Act states that
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 interest so expressed, and shall not, so long any object of the trust remains, be subject to the control of the husband, or to his creditors, or form part of his estate.

How to avail the Married Womens Property Act (MWPA) benefits in Life Insurance
To avail of this benefit, the insurer needs to sign a special form and assign the policy under MWP. This will ensure that the specific policy is marked for payout to the family only.

Married Womens Property Act (MWPA) in a Joint Family
In a joint family, one expects that the financial obligations and commitments might be vague and many times it would be difficult to have a clear title to the beneficiary. MWPA could be a great option here as it will give a clear title to the beneficiary and an exercising right for the policyholder as well.