When couples divorce, it seems obvious that they should change their beneficiary designations on a variety of accounts. But a recent case before the U.S. Supreme Court shows that sometimes such paperwork slips through the cracks - and highlights the disarray that can arise as a result.

The court ruled earlier this year in Hillman v. Maretta that a decedent's ex-spouse, who was still named as his beneficiary, was entitled to receive his federal life insurance benefits. The unanimous decision came despite the fact that an applicable state law says that a divorce removes an ex-spouse as the beneficiary of a decedent's various death benefits.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Financial Planning content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access