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How is a Beneficiary Designation Affected by Divorce?

All too often, individuals who are going or have gone through a divorce discover that they have failed to change a beneficiary designation on some sort of asset. In the worst case scenario, an individual passes away without having changed the designation, which causes a whole host of problems if the couple already has divorced. This situation can be particularly tricky when an ex-spouse is left as the beneficiary of an asset that should properly have been left to a new spouse or to the deceased’s children. While it may be difficult to think clearly about the future when you are going through the trauma of a divorce, changing beneficiary designations is simply a step that you have to take during or following a divorce.

For instance, under federal law, a benefits company may be required to disburse the funds in a retirement plan or life insurance policy to the individual’s ex-spouse, even if it is clear that the individual did not intend for that disbursement to happen. Even though your Georgia divorce lawyer may be able to insert some protective language in a marital settlement agreement in an attempt to avoid this problem, it may not be able to protect you in all situations. ERISA, which is the federal law in question, overrules state law on this point, so it may be a very difficult situation to handle if you fail to change your beneficiary designations.

If you have questions about the impact of divorce on your beneficiary designations, or any other aspect of your divorce case, the Shaw Law Firm can assist you. We will evaluate your situation and advise you of our proposed strategy for your case. We can help you get it right – the first time.

Contact us or call today to learn how Shaw Law can work with you to achieve the best outcome possible for you and your children.

Scott Shaw is founder and principle of Shaw Law Firm LLC, founded in 1995 and dedicated solely to divorce, family law and child custody matters that must be addressed and decided in the state of Georgia. Shaw Law Firm serves the greater Metro Atlanta area, particularly the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Newton, Walton, Bartow and Douglas. Schedule a consultation today at 770-594-8309.