What do you do when you own a life insurance policy which names your soon to be ex-spouse is the primary beneficiary?
First, you must decide if you want your ex to continue to be the primary beneficiary after the divorce. Why on earth would you choose this option? Many divorcing spouses choose this option as part of their divorce settlement as a means of securing child support or spousal maintenance payments in the event the responsible party dies.
If this is your goal, you will need to obtain an official change of beneficiary designation form from your life insurance carrier and you will need to re-designate your ex as beneficiary after the divorce becomes final. This step is necessary because under Arizona law, an ex-spouse is automatically removed as beneficiary.
Life Insurance After Divorce
If you are already divorced and your ex is responsible to carry a life insurance policy naming you as beneficiary, be sure that you receive confirmation that your ex has filled out the appropriate change of beneficiary form. Also, be aware that your ex may change the named beneficiary to someone else or let the policy lapse after the divorce.
Of course if your ex does this, he or she will be in violation of a court order. Also, if your ex dies and it is only then that you find out you are not the named beneficiary, you may have to litigate the issue in probate court. The only sure way to secure and maintain your status as a designated beneficiary after divorce is for you to own the policy or to assume responsibility to pay the premiums yourself.
Get Help with Divorce and Life Insurance
Though the options seem simple enough, deciding how your life insurance policy operates before or after a divorce can get complicated. With the help of an experienced family law attorney, you can determine the best solution for you, your family and your future.
Call Tim Durkin today at (480) 464-1111 to discuss your situation.