Collaborative Marital Settlement Agreements: Insurance Policies and Accounts – Beneficiary Designations – Section 732.703

Under the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Sveen v. Melin, 138 S. Ct. 1815 (June 11, 2018), section 732.703, Florida Statutes, which applies to decedents dying on or after July 1, 2012, does not unconstitutionally impair contracts by retroactively invalidating designations decedents made before July 1, 2012. The Supreme Court held Minnesota’s application of a revocation upon divorce statute similar to section 732.703, Florida’s Statutes, as applied to life insurance beneficiary designation signed before the Minnesota statute became law, did not violate the Contracts Clause of the United States Constitution by substantially impairing a contractual relationship. See Cazobon, Denise B. and Stashis, Alfred, Jr., Beneficiary Designations in Divorce: Lessons from Sveen v. Melin, Family Law Commentator, Fall 2018, p. 11.

Florida is one of 26 states with a revocation on divorce statute substantially similar to the Uniform Probate Code’s provision revoking on divorce both testamentary bequests in wills and beneficiary designations to a former spouse. See §§ 2-804(a)(1), (b)(1), 8 U.L.A. 330, 330-331. See Ala. Code § 30-4-17 (2016); Alaska Stat. § 13.12.804 (2016); Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14-2804 (2012); Colo. Rev. Stat. § 15-11-804 (2017); Haw. Rev. Stat. § 560:2-804 (2006); Idaho Code Ann. § 15-2-804 (2017 Cum. Supp.); Iowa Code § 598.20A (2017); Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 190B, § 2-804 (2016); Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 700.2807 (West 2018 Cum. Supp.); Minn. Stat. § 524.2-804 subd. 1 (2016); Mont. Code Ann. § 72-2-814 (2017); Nev. Rev. Stat. § 111.781 (2015); N.J. Stat. Ann. § 3B:3-14 (West 2007); N.M. Stat. Ann. § 45-2-804 (2014); N.Y. Est., Powers & Trusts Law Ann. § 5-1.4 (West 2018 Cum. Supp.); N.D. Cent. Code Ann. § 30.1-10-04 (2010); Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5815.33 (Lexis 2017); 20 Pa. Stat. and Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111.2 (2010); S.C. Code Ann. § 62-2-507 (2017 Cum. Supp.); S.D. Codified Laws § 29A-2-804 (2004); Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 9.301 (West 2006); Utah Code § 75-2-804 (Supp. 2017); Va. Code Ann. § 20-111.1 (2016); Wash. Rev. Code § 11.07.010 (2016); Wis. Stat. § 854.15 (2011).

Divorcing parties may want to override Florida’s (or other states’) automatic revocation statutes.  In collaborative marital settlement agreements, prior to a divorce final judgment, divorcing policyholders affirmatively may commit, after the divorce is final, to redesignating or reinstating a former spouse as beneficiary.

⇒  Next Section: Beneficiary Designations: Checklist for Collaborative Practice Teams

⇐  Previous Section: Automatic Revocation of Will Provisions that Affect an Ex-Spouse on Divorce

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