According to various sources, the divorce rate is around 50% for a first marriage. These are staggering numbers which highlight an issue we are seeing more frequently: life insurance beneficiary changes after a divorce.
Divorce can have a major impact on a person’s life insurance policy when a former spouse is designated beneficiary.
Here’s a few things to consider:
Divorce Decree or Property Settlement
If your divorce decree or property settlement requires you to maintain an active individual life insurance policy, then you have to name your ex-spouse as beneficiary since it’s court mandated.
Currently, 24 states have legislation or statutes that extinguish the rights of a former spouse as beneficiary on a life insurance policy, unless it’s addressed by the courts via a divorce decree or property settlement.
If you want to keep and ex-spouse as beneficiary on a life insurance policy and you live in one the 24 states, you should seek legal counsel to assure the change complies with your state’s law.
Check to see if your life insurance policy includes divorce or marital status language. Some life insurance policies have clauses for a change in marital status such as divorce. The majority of life insurer’s don’t include this language, but some of them do. It’s best to check just in case.
Life insurance represents the last chance to tell family members that they are special. Make sure your last gift is delivered as intended. If you need assistance in reviewing the policy, contact your life insurance agent or an attorney.