Divorce is an unfortunate part of life in the modern United States. It is a process that can exact a heavy toll on a person’s mental and physical well-being, and can lead to some unwanted and unexpected results down the road, if not handled properly. If you are going through a divorce, or are already divorced, ask yourself “do I want my ex-spouse to benefit if I were to die tomorrow?” If the answer to that question is “no,” and you haven’t taken the necessary steps to remove your former spouse as a designated beneficiary, then you should keep on reading.
An important detail that is often overlooked by folks that get divorced using a DIY Divorce kit is checking the designated beneficiary on any life insurance policies and employer-provided pension plans. Why is this important to check? Generally, the law will not make assumptions about to whom you actually intended the benefits to go, but will rely on the person designated as the beneficiary. As a result, if you get divorced and then remarry, but forget to change the name of your designated beneficiary, your former spouse will receive the benefits instead of your current spouse.
However, some situations arise in which a person wants to keep his or her former spouse as the designated beneficiary. In those cases, the best approach is to re-designate your former spouse as a beneficiary; if you fail to do so, some states have automatic revocation statutes that will prevent the payment of funds to that former spouse.
Byrd : Garrett, PLLC is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.