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Divorced couples need to change beneficiaries

On Behalf of | Apr 13, 2015 | Family Law

Although many ex-spouses in Virginia may think they have taken care of all important matters in a divorce, they should also change their beneficiaries after their divorces, unless they wish for their ex-spouses to receive their life insurance money. They must wait until the divorce is completely finalized because they cannot go through the process of changing their life insurance policies while they are going through divorce proceedings. If they fail to change their beneficiaries, their benefits could automatically go to their ex-spouses, even if they leave everything to other people, such as their children or new spouses.

The laws governing beneficiaries vary from state to state. Some states, such as Florida, allow insurance companies to look into a person’s marital status to determine who should be the true beneficiaries. Other states, such as Missouri, automatically assume the ex-spouse should no longer be a beneficiary, unless the policy holder specifically stated otherwise. The states laws can be beneficial or work against the wishes of a deceased person, depending on the situation.

Divorced individuals need to go through the process of changing each beneficiary individually for life insurance documents to be valid. They may also want to change the names on any other insurance policies or annuities after the divorce process.

During divorce proceedings, couples want to make sure they work out every detail, including insurance policies. If an ex-spouse is worried about who is named as a beneficiary due to a health concern, the individual may want to bring up the beneficiary designation during the divorce process to help speed up the change. A family law attorney may be able to help couples to work key details of their divorces, including life insurance policy designations, so that they do not have to worry about additional details after their divorces are finalized.