Collaborative Marital Agreements — Beneficiary Designations After Divorce

Florida law revokes on divorce beneficiary designations that “affect” an ex-spouse.  For more, read herehere and here. Therefore, to avoid automatic revocation of beneficiary designations on divorce, Collaborative Marital Settlement Agreements should address interests in:

  • assets subject to beneficiary designations under wills
  • assets subject to beneficiary designations under life insurance policies
  • retirement plans
  • employee benefit plans
  • assets subject to pay-on-death or transfer-on-death designations.

Spouses may want to maintain after divorce one or both as designated beneficiaries of assets. Indeed, sometimes that’s important to benefit their children, secure alimony, or achieve other purposes.

Collaborative Marital Settlement Agreements – Identifying Assets Having Beneficiary Designations

Among other things, the Collaborative Marital Settlement Agreement (or “collaborative resolution agreements”) should:

(1)  identify each asset subject to a beneficiary designation or transfer-on-death treatment;

(2) specify who will retain the asset;

(3) provide if the owner must designate or continue to designate the other spouse as a beneficiary; or

(4) state the spouse retaining the asset may dispose of it with no restrictions.

Will beneficiary designations will continue after divorce? If so, the collaborative team may find workable provisions express the parties’ intent. Below is language modified from the Florida Supreme Court approved marital settlement agreements.

Florida Supreme Court Approved Language in MSAs – Beneficiary Designations

Beneficiary Designation

The designation providing for the payment or transfer at death of an interest in assets to or for the benefit of the __________ (name of spouse) SHALL NOT BE VOID as of the date of entry of the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, which shall provide that the designation will remain in full force and effect.

__________ (name of spouse) shall acquire or maintain the following assets for the benefit of __________ (name of the other spouse or child(ren)) to be paid upon his/her death outright or in trust. This provision only applies if other assets fulfilling such requirement for the benefit of the other spouse or child(ren) do not exist upon his/her death and unless precluded by statute. {Describe the assets with specificity}:

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.

__________ (name of spouse) shall not unilaterally terminate or modify the ownership of the following assets, or their disposition upon his/her death. {Describe the assets with specificity}:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.

⇒  Next section: Automatic Revocation of Will Provisions that Affect an Ex-Spouse on Divorce

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