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Changing beneficiary designations during a divorce

When a person in Alaska decides that they want to get a divorce from their spouse, they should be prepared to update their beneficiary designations. According to a personal finance blogger, many often forget to change their designations prior to filing for divorce; once the divorce petition has been filed, the designations cannot be changed until the divorce has been finalized.

Usually, a spouse names their spouse as their beneficiary when the two marry. This makes sense; should something happen to a spouse during the marriage, the other spouse may inherit certain assets or property. However, if the plan is to divorce, most do not want their ex-spouse to inherit their assets. If possible, it is recommended that a person change their beneficiary designations prior to filing for the divorce; they should keep in mind that changes cannot be made to retirement accounts without the written permission of the other spouse.

If the ex-couple has already filed for divorce, the ex-spouse will have to wait before making any changes to their beneficiary designations. As such, it is recommended that the changes be made as soon as the divorce is finalized, even if the person's will has already been amended. Further, if the person wishes that their ex-spouse inherit certain assets even though they are no longer married, the designation should be reaffirmed to avoid confusion.

If someone decides that they want a divorce, a family law attorney may assist them with filing the paperwork and providing them with information regarding changing beneficiaries. If an ex-spouse wants to name a new beneficiary for certain retirement accounts, the attorney may also negotiate with the other party to protect their client's rights.

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