A designated beneficiary receives the proceeds of a life insurance policy upon the death of a decedent. The owner of a life insurance policy can change the designated beneficiary by completing and filing a change of beneficiary form with the life insurance company. A last will and testament cannot change a beneficiary designation.
New Jersey has a 90-Day Freeze on Changing Beneficiaries
Different states have different laws regarding life insurance beneficiary designations and divorce. In New Jersey, when a divorce action is commenced, both spouses are ordered to not make any changes to their insurance coverage including designated beneficiaries. Each party must submit an affidavit of insurance coverage. The affidavit must specify whether any insurance coverage was canceled or modified within the ninety days preceding the filing of the complaint, and mut describe the canceled insurance coverage.
A spouse contemplating a divorce should either change the beneficiary more than 90 days before commencing the divorce action, or wait until the divorce is finished and then the spouse can make changes as long as there is no court order in place requiring a specific beneficiary for an insurance policy.
Getting Legal Help
Understanding your rights and those of your spouse are important factors in creating your estate planning documents. Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Elga Goodman can help you get started on making smart choices to preserve and grow your estate. Contact us today at 973-841-5111 to learn more.
Posted in: Estate Planning