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Tips for Changing Beneficiary Designations After a Divorce

If you have decided to file for a divorce, you are going to quickly realize just how many issues can arise. With all these challenges, it may be difficult to focus on the practical implications that need to be considered. An issue that is often forgotten, but that should not be overlooked, is the updating of key policies and documents to reflect this new status. Part of this process involves revisiting life insurance policies, retirement plans, pensions and various types of financial housekeeping.

Beneficiary Designations After a Divorce

If you are going through a divorce, hiring a divorce attorney may be a smart move. They can help you handle all of this and ensure the proper changes are made.

The fact is, when you get married, it is only natural to name your spouse as your beneficiary. However, after a divorce, you are likely going to want to change who receives these benefits when you die. It is important to understand that you can change beneficiaries before or after a divorce; however, designations cannot be altered during the actual divorce proceedings.

Important Considerations

If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or are currently going through a divorce, or have a separation that has been finalized, there are a few important points that need to be considered as you are getting your key documents and finances in order.

What Should be Changed and When?

The first thing you need to do is to account for all instruments where you have named your spouse as the beneficiary. In most cases these include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Annuities and pensions
  • Retirement accounts
  • Life insurance policies
  • Other types of accounts or plans including CDs, mutual funds, checking/savings, etc.

After you are aware of the documents that have your ex-spouse named as a beneficiary, you can determine if you want to change them.

Make sure to discuss all these policies and accounts with your family law attorney if your divorce isn’t final yet. While it may be possible to change some of the beneficiary designations before the divorce is finalized, you may have to wait until after for the others.

Changing Your Will: Why It’s Not Enough

Just revising your will so that you can disinherit your ex-spouse isn’t enough to exclude them from receiving certain benefits upon your death. This is because the beneficiary designations will supersede what has been specified in your will. You have to actually designate a new beneficiary for each of the policies or plans where they have been named.

If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or currently in the middle of the process, it is a good idea to consult with a divorce attorney. They can review all your plans and policies and help you through the process of ensuring your ex-spouse does not receive any benefits if you pass.

To schedule a consultation or find out more information, contact the family law attorneys at The Estevez-Pazos Law Firm, P.A. by calling 305-717-7130.

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The Estevez-Pazos Law Firm, P.A.

135 San Lorenzo Avenue, Suite 650
Coral Gables, Florida 33146
Fax: 305-234-7028
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