Settlement reached on Heath Ledger's life insurance

LOS ANGELES Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:15pm EST

Heath Ledger at the 78th annual Academy Awards in 2006. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Heath Ledger at the 78th annual Academy Awards in 2006.

Credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Heath Ledger's insurance company and lawyers for his young daughter have reached an out of court settlement over a $10 million policy claim on behalf of the girl, an attorney said on Thursday.

Ledger, 28, died a year ago in his New York apartment in what officials ruled an accidental prescription-drug overdose.

But lawyers for ReliaStar Life Insurance Co said they wanted to investigate further before paying out because his death might have been suicide, which would nullify the policy.

Attorney William Shernoff filed a lawsuit in July 2008 on behalf of Ledger's 3-year-old daughter, Matilda Rose, over the $10 million he argued was due to her as the beneficiary. After the lawsuit was filed, the two sides negotiated.

"The parties are pleased that they were able to reach an amicable settlement and solve the dispute," Shernoff said.

No details were released on terms of the agreement.

Ledger, who had his daughter with actress Michelle Williams, is Oscar-nominated for playing Batman's enemy the Joker in "The Dark Knight." He was nominated for an Oscar for playing a gay cowboy in the 2005 movie "Brokeback Mountain."

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Jill Serjeant)

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