Once you’re going through the divorce most retirement plans will not allow you to change beneficiaries and so forth. You don’t want to do that anyway. It wouldn’t necessarily look good in front of the court. The same thing goes for insurance policies. Once the court has made a final ruling, and let’s say that there’s nothing that says that you have to include the other person listed as the beneficiary on your retirement accounts. Let’s say you’ve got two people and they made about the same amount of money. The retirement accounts are completely separated and they’re equal, and there are no qualified domestic relations orders that are going to have to be drafted. One of the things that you’ll need to do at that point unless it’s otherwise specified in an agreement or an order, is you’ll need to change the beneficiaries. It’s not necessarily automatic based on the particular plan that you’re signed up for. Whether it’s an insurance plan or a retirement plan.
What you’ll need to do is you’ll need to start digging up whatever the phone number is for the insurance company or the retirement account. You’ll need to go through with them as to what their requirements are for changing the beneficiaries. It might be really simple or it might be a little bit more complicated. You need to make sure you do that soon because you certainly don’t want something to happen to you after the divorce, but if something does you want to make sure all of that is consistent with what you want. So you would call them and ask for the information that you need to change the beneficiaries.
The reason I’m bringing this up is that I’ve had people assume that just because they’ve gone through a divorce that all of that is going to be changed. That’s not necessarily the case. In many instances, you have to go through a process to change your beneficiaries. Let’s say that you want to take your wife or your husband off, and you want to include your children or somebody else. It’s important that you go ahead and do that and you get started on it soon after the divorce has been completed.
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