From one of the oldest laws in India to one of the most underrated ideas in the market, the majority of the population ignores the Married Women’s Protection Act 1874 (MWP Act). Simply put, MWP is a provision that protects insurance money from creditors, banks, and government agencies. No wonder it’s also on a lighter note called Insurance ka Insurance.
We all want to be accountable, we all want to make sure we deliver what is entrusted to us. More so with men as they are considered the breadwinners of Indian households. They strive to make ends meet, succeed in their pursuits, and try to ensure that they give their family a life that is at least comfortable, if not luxurious, safe if not adventurous, and full of obligatory provisions, if not abundance.
In an effort to make life interesting, run a business, take out loans, generate income, maintain cash flow, break even points, manage EMIs, etc., there are too many dimensions to make ends meet and more often than not, families end up having creditors and a group of individuals or organizations to whom they owe money. The world has normalized credit, private and government agencies encourage credit, but its flip side is rarely seen by credit bearers. Any inability to repay shifts the responsibility onto the family, estate, assets, etc., thus not only damaging the dignity of the family but also the financial situation.
What is the MWP Law
Section 6 of the Married Women’s Protection Act 1874 states and highlights “a policy of insurance taken out by every married man upon his own life and expressed prima facie as being for the benefit of his wife, or his wife and children, or any of them, shall insure and be deemed to constitute a trust for the benefit of his wife, or his wife and children, or any of them according to the interests so expressed, and shall not, so long as the object of the trust remains, be subject to the control of the husband, or his creditors, or form part of his estate”.
Explanation: If the term insurance or life insurance policy is governed by the MWP Act of 1874, it will ensure that the beneficiary of the policy, i.e. wife, or children or both , will always remain entitled to receive the proceeds of the insurance, neither the creditors, nor the government agencies, nor the husband/insured himself can claim or control the proceeds of the policy.
Who can opt for insurance under the MWP Act
Any married male resident of India can avail the policy under the MWP Act. The MWP benefit can only be used when purchasing a new policy. If you are widowed or divorced, you can still benefit from an insurance policy under the MWP law in which you can declare your children as beneficiaries of the policy.
Who can be added as a beneficiary under MWP
As beneficiaries of the insurance policy, you can add your wife alone, or your child(ren) alone or your wife and children together. You can also decide the percentage to which each beneficiary will be entitled when the product is paid out, but once declared, it cannot be changed. Even if the policy is surrendered, the payments due will be received by the beneficiaries as declared in the policy. In the event of separation, the beneficiaries will remain the same. Parents cannot be added as beneficiaries in the insurance policy under MWP.
How to opt for an insurance policy under MWP 1874?
When applying for the policy, all you need to do is complete and sign an MWPA addendum along with the application form. Some insurers have this option even in the application form and policyholders only need to select the “yes” option in the form to take out the policy under MWP. Once the policy is purchased under MWP, the declared beneficiary cannot be changed.
In this world of credit and loans, it is common to see families with thousands and millions of debt in pursuit of building assets, whether employees or businessmen. . How do you ensure that dependents, i.e. your family, receive your insurance proceeds in the event of the uneventful death of the insured? This is where the MWP Act of 1874 comes into play to ensure that the future of the dependent (family) is financially secure.
Make sure that if you are a married man you take your next insurance policy, whether term or life, under MWP 1874. You can contact your insurance manager or adviser for more information about it.
(By Jayprakash Shetty, Certified Financial Advisor and Personal Finance Coach)