Why You MUST Change Your Life Insurance Beneficiary When Getting Divorced

29894340172_1f9c654e89_nCertified Divorce Financial Analyst™, Michelle Ash has a must-read article about financial issues after divorce in womensdivorce.com. Here’s an overview:

The divorce is finally over, the decisions have been made, and now life proceeds anew for the client. But it’s never really that easy, is it? For the newly-divorced client, the legal work may be done, but there’s often a long list of financial clean-up that lies ahead.

Expert advice

As a life insurance broker, I pay special attention when experts offer advice on how to avoid troubles with your policy. Michelle points to a big one regarding the need to change the beneficiary designation when the divorce is finalized:

According to estate planning attorney C. Randolph Coleman of The Coleman Law Firm, “There usually are a half dozen cases during a typical year where someone will call and ask whether there is anything they can do to avoid the ex-spouse of their recently deceased spouse, parent, child or sibling, from taking the life insurance or retirement plan that the ex-spouse was still the beneficiary designated on the decedent’s plans/policies. The short answer, there is nothing you can do. The beneficiary designation will trump the will or intestacy every time.”

Again from estate planning attorney, C. Randolph Coleman, “I probably see about 6 or 8 people a year who typically come in for estate planning 4 to 5 years after a divorce to ‘finally get around’ to updating their estate planning. Usually, during the course of our discussions I will suggest to them that they go back to their employer and check on the beneficiary designations for their life insurance and retirement plans. Invariably, about half of them will call back and tell me how much they appreciate the counsel to check because their ex-spouse remained their beneficiary.”

A big takeaway

One take away from the story is this: if you wait for a life event to prompt an update of your policy, you may end up doing too little too late. This problem can be avoided if you get into the practice of conducting regular audits of your policy. Policy audits can frequently head off trouble at the pass. To learn more, read here.

What about your policy?

What about your life insurance policy? Is the beneficiary designation is current?
Please feel free to comment, or to contact me directly with a specific question.

If you need a quote now, or a second opinion on a quote you have received, the best thing to do is to call me toll-free at (866) 633-1818. Or email me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. I also encourage you to download my free Life Insurance Guide – see the above tab. Many people have found it to be extremely educational.


Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Recent posts, including “Can I Get Life Insurance On My Ex?”

recent-posts2Here are some of my recent posts on the topics of life and life insurance.
As you can imagine, these two topics are very intertwined.

Feel free to comment and pass on. Thank you!


“Can You Take Out Life Insurance On Anyone?”

“Should I pay my cryopreservation cash or via life insurance?”

“What Is Key Employee Life Insurance?”

“My mother passed away recently, and I had nothing but a mortgage and $25,000 of life insurance. I’m a 20 year old with one more year of college left, and I have a stable job and I can support myself. What should I do?”

“What are the pros and cons of going to college?”

“What Is An Endowment Plan In Life Insurance?”

“How do I deal with dishonest people who promise one thing to my face and do something completely different behind my back?”

“How To Use Life Insurance For Estate Planning?”

“How Is AD&D Different From Life Insurance?”

“Who Should Be Trustee Of Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust?”

“How Do You Renew Term Life Insurance?”

“Investment insurance: How can get insurance when I Invest in Startup?”

“What can I do in the US, while still alive, to make sure that the life insurance company will not renege on payoff to my spouse?”

“Why Does Everyone Need Health Insurance?”

“Can I Get Life Insurance on My Ex?”



Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

How Life Insurance Can Help with a Divorce Settlement

When a couple is unfortunately reaching the end of their marriage, they need to know how life insurance can help with a divorce settlement. Yet if you’re going through the heartache of a divorce, one of the last things you may be thinking about is life insurance. Still, did you know that life insurance is often required as a part of the divorce decree? This is usually in place to protect your spouse and/or children if anything should happen to you while the decree is in place.

How to arrange the coverage

Because insurance coverage is stipulated in the divorce decree for a specific amount of time, term insurance is usually purchased. Either spouse may ask the court to require life insurance, though it is typically the dependent spouse or the one with primary custody of the children. This stipulation needs to be covered during the settlement period by making sure that an adequate policy is ordered to be purchased with yourself as the beneficiary and preferably as the owner, since the owner of the policy controls it. The owner is able to change the beneficiaries. Remember that you can add beneficiaries to the policy such as a new spouse or children.

Taking care of the children

Unfortunately, minor children often find themselves at the middle of the divorce. In a divorce, one spouse frequently gets primary custody of minor children. It is essential that there is sufficient life insurance in force on that spouse to protect the children. Though it may seem easier to set them up as beneficiaries, they are not legally competent and doing so may cause more problems for your children than it solves. Consulting an attorney to set up a trust is a better option if you do not feel that your former spouse should be managing their money for them.

Cover all bases

Divorce can be extremely stressful and nerve-wracking, with stress-related conditions developing ranging from anxiety and depression to stomach issues. When you are going through the prequalification stage for life insurance, it is vitally important that you are up front about this. In addition to life insurance requirements, there may also be requirements for carrying health insurance, homeowners or renters insurance.

One final note on how life insurance can help with a divorce settlement

After the divorce decree has been fulfilled and is no longer in action, you can change the policy to provide income replacement benefits to your new spouse if remarried, provided that you remember to change your beneficiaries.


Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.