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Divorcing? Don't forget to change your beneficiaries

There is so much to determine when couples go through a divorce. What will be the custody terms for the children, how to divide the marital debts and assets and who will keep the family pet all must be sorted out either between the parties or by a judge in court.

With all that taking place, it's easy to forget to make other important changes like switching the beneficiary on any life insurance policies.

Whether you will need to change beneficiary designations on your life insurance policy depends on the circumstances of your marriage and divorce. If you have minor children with the spouse whom you are divorcing, you may decide to leave their other parent as beneficiary until the kids reach their majority.

But you could also simply switch the beneficiary from your former spouse to the children to avoid the possibility of your ex using the proceeds for themselves rather than the kids.

Unfortunately, that might not be sufficient, as in some situations after a divorce, the beneficiary designations of former spouses are revoked, and the money reverts to a secondary beneficiary or to the estate itself. Sometimes, this scenario can be remedied by your reconfirming your ex as the policy's beneficiary.

There also is the possibility that, if you agree or are ordered to pay spousal support, that you will need to leave your ex as the beneficiary of the policy. That way, should you predecease your former spouse, the proceeds of the life insurance policy are paid out in lieu of the court-ordered spousal support they would otherwise continue to receive had you not passed away.

If there is any question about the beneficiary designation of your life insurance, you should address this with your Seymour family law attorney.

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