Is my husband's ex-spouse entitled to receive my spouse's retirement benefits?

By Denise Appleby AAA
A:

The rules vary among retirement benefits. In some cases, because you are the current spouse, you will be treated as the beneficiary by default. This would be so even if your spouse named someone else as the beneficiary. However, a named beneficiary may challenge the default provisions, resulting in costly legal fees and a delay in your receipt of the inherited assets.

To clear up any doubts, your spouse should check with his plan's administrator about the rules that apply to their benefits. For starters, you should ensure that your spouse updates all documents to reflect any changes to beneficiary designations. They should also ask for written confirmation that the changes were made. Or, if no change is necessary, your spouse can provide a written confirmation of the current beneficiaries on record. Cases of "lost" documentation - including changes in beneficiary designations - are all too common. Usually, no one realizes these documents are lost until they're needed to determine proper allocation or disbursement of assets to beneficiaries.

For related reading, see Getting A Divorce?: Understand The Rules Of Dividing Plan Assets and Marriage, Divorce And The Dotted Line.

This question was answered by Denise Appleby
(
Contact Denise)

RELATED FAQS

  1. Who does Warren Buffett plan to bequeath his estate to?

    Find out how much Warren Buffett is leaving for his heirs and how he wants the funds invested after his death. Learn about ...
  2. How do I calculate my Social Security break-even age?

    Learn why age plays an important role for when to start receiving Social Security income and how calculating break-even age ...
  3. How are yields taxed on a certificate of deposit (CD)?

    Learn how interest earned on a certificate of deposit is taxed and how this may reduce the total return of an investment ...
  4. Are treasury bills a good investment for retirement savings?

    Find out whether Treasury bills (T-bills) are a smart investment for retirement, and learn why opportunity cost is a significant ...
RELATED TERMS
  1. Variable Annuitization

    An annuity option in which the amount of income payments received ...
  2. To Fund

    A type of target-date retirement fund whose asset allocation ...
  3. Through Fund

    A type of target-date retirement fund whose asset allocation ...
  4. Leveraged Benefits

    The use – by a business owner or professional practitioner – ...
  5. Drawdown Percentage

    The portion of a retirement account that a retiree withdraws ...
  6. Peri-Retirement

    A term for the period of time leading up to actual retirement. ...

You May Also Like

Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Are You An Investor Seeking For More ...

  2. Professionals

    Why Retirement Advice Is Better But ...

  3. Professionals

    Ways To Cut 401(k) Expenses

  4. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Funds That Should Be On Every Investor’s ...

  5. Retirement

    How To Start Saving For Retirement

Trading Center