Effect of Divorce on Life Insurance
Upon divorce, it is important to review the beneficiary designations on existing life insurance policies and make any necessary changes. This may depend upon the financial obligations between the parties, such as alimony, child support, and other financial issues that may be contained in the divorce settlement agreement or ordered by the court.
Life insurance is a contract between a policy owner and an insurance company whereby the insurance company promises to pay money to the designated beneficiary upon the death of the insured. Although the policy owner is usually the insured, it is not a requirement. The policy owner is the person who makes the insurance premium payments and is the only person who can designate or change the beneficiary. Neither the insured nor the beneficiary can change the designated beneficiary. Therefore, if there are no children of the marriage and there are no financial obligations between the parties, then it is important to immediately designate a new beneficiary under the policy after a divorce. If the beneficiary is not changed, then the proceeds of the policy will go to the ex-spouse upon the insured’s death. Simply naming a beneficiary in one’s will does not change the beneficiary of any existing life insurance policies.
If there are children of the marriage, both parents should maintain a life insurance policy for the benefit of the children until they reach the age of majority. This ensures that the children’s needs will be met in the event of the death of either parent. If the non-custodial parent has any concerns that the custodial parent will not use the proceeds of the life insurance policy for the benefit of the children, a trust may be set up.
We, at The Zhou Law Group, APC know that it is important to keep informed with these special types of issues and have the experience to protect your rights. If you have any questions regarding Family Law, please feel to arrange a free 1/2 hour initial consultation with our Family Law Attorneys by calling (408)289-9688, or contacting us online at www.sanjoseattorneys.com.