Many times I get phone calls from children or new spouses who have lost the parent or spouse. These are my least favorite phone calls because I never have good news for the person calling.
The call always involves out-of-date beneficiary designations with the ex-spouse still on the form even after a divorce. And unfortunately, at least in the case of beneficiary designations, there’s nothing the children or new spouse can do. Because a beneficiary controls over a will and is in effect a legally binding contract, the ex-spouse gets whatever had their name on it even after the divorce. And trust me, I hate having to tell a family that just lost a parent or a spouse that.
So this is the short lesson of the month, if you’ve just gotten a divorce, or did ten years ago, and haven’t taken the time to update your beneficiaries, please do it today. Save me the unpleasant phone call when your loved ones call me to get the bad news or share this with someone who’s already dealt with enough of the unpleasantness of divorce.