Heath Ledger, Matilda


From the department of not-so-shocking news: An insurance company is trying like crazy to find a loophole to avoid paying a hefty settlement. The kicker: It's Heath Ledger's policy.

Just days after the late actor's father confirmed that the whole of Ledger's estate would be going, without challenge, to 2-year-old daughter Matilda Rose comes word that the ReliaStar Life Insurance Company is doing everything it can to make said estate worth $10 million less.

The company is allegedly refusing to pay out Ledger's eight-figure life insurance policy on the grounds that his death could have been a suicide.

This, of course, despite the fact that the New York Medical Examiner's Office ruled the death accidental in an official report released in February.

Cue the trustees representing Matilda and the estate, who have filed a lawsuit against ReliaStar for not paying the $10 million and, furthermore, for adding insult to injury by snooping into the late actor's life.

"ReliaStar is entitled to investigate Plaintiff's claim to determine if the 'suicide' provision is applicable," the company said in its response to the lawsuit, according to TMZ.

ReliaStar's lawyers intend on covering ground already well-tread by both the New York Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Agency, telling Matilda's trustees that the company intends on taking depositions from a litany of Ledger acquaintances, including Mary-Kate Olsen, the masseuse who found the actor's body, costars and colleagues on his final film as well as his agents, doctors and psychologists.

ReliaStar is seemingly attempting to contest payment of the policy on the grounds that Ledger lied on his application, presumably on the questions dealing with whether or not the actor was taking any prescription drugs at the time.

Attorney's for Matilda's trust contend that the insurer's investigation is not only insulting but in violation of California law, where the policy was taken out, because the state forbids companies to reexamine insurance applications after a policyholder dies.

Meanwhile, in less complicated fiscal news, Heath's father, Kim Ledger, confirmed on Friday that his son's entire inheritance is going to Matilda, his daughter with Michelle Williams, without challenge.

The will Heath Ledger signed in April 2003 had left everything to his parents and three sisters, which initially sparked concern that his daughter would not receive any of his estate.

Kim, however, confirmed that the family, including Williams, would not be taking any of the estate, but agreed to transferr all of it to Matilda.

"There is no claim," he told Australia's Sunday Times. "Our family has gifted everything to Matilda."

While Ledger's five-year-old will lists assets and cash of just $118,000, his actual estate has since been pegged between $16 million and $20 million, though the actual figure has not—and no doubt will not—be revealed.

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