Beneficiary Designations and Divorce

As you probably know, Fla. Stat § 732.703 was created and now governs the effect of divorce, dissolution or invalidity of marriage on the disposition of certain assets with beneficiary designations, like life insurance and IRAs. A beneficiary designation made by the decedent is void if at the time of death: (1) the marriage is dissolved or declared invalid by a court order and (2) the designation was made prior to such dissolution or court order. The asset will then pass as if the former spouse predeceased the decedent.

The Florida statute, however, does not apply to the extent federal law applies. In a recent U.S. Supreme Court case, Hillman v. Maretta, 569 U.S. ___ (2013), the Court determined a beneficiary designation under a Federal Employee Group Life Insurance Act of 1956 that named a former spouse was valid. Thus, the former spouse received the life insurance proceeds and the new spouse was left out.

IMPORTANT: Any time you are dealing with divorced, make sure ALL beneficiary designations are reviewed!

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