May 28,2021

Child Support, Divorce, Family Law, Spousal maintenance

Goodman Law Firm

Illinois Law Automatically Revokes Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation of Former Spouses

HomeBlogChild SupportIllinois Law Automatically Revokes Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation of Former Spouses

It’s generally safe to assume that most divorced men and women do not want their ex-spouse to be a beneficiary of their estate at the time of their death.  Illinois law agrees and for decades it automatically revoked beneficiary designations in wills and trusts to spouses at the time of divorce.  But it wasn’t until 2019 that Illinois began automatically revoking life insurance beneficiary designations to former spouses.  This change in Illinois law is not well known and could have unintended consequences for your or your former spouse.

The automatic revocation of life insurance beneficiary designation of spouses after divorce is meant to prevent an unintended windfall to a former spouse years after the divorce.  This makes sense.  Individuals frequently forget to make changes and updates to their estate plans following their divorce.  Without automatic beneficiary revocations, the failure to update estate plans could leave intended beneficiaries, like children and new spouses, out of luck.

Why was life insurance excluded from the automatic revocations in the first place?

Life insurance is unlike other property.  Life insurance proceeds are traditionally intended to protect those dependent on the deceased’s income.  After a divorce, it’s common for financially dependent spouses to continue to receive support through alimony payments (now called spousal support in Illinois) and minor children to receive financial support through child support payments.  Family law judges typically order spouses with support obligations to insure those obligations with life insurance so the former spouse and children are protected.  For these reasons, the legislature historically deemed it unnecessary to impose an automatic revocation.

How do you designate a former spouse as your beneficiary of life insurance now?

If you want your former spouse to remain the beneficiary of your life insurance following your divorce, then you have two choices.  First, you can state your desire in your Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage.  Judges frequently do this anyway.  Your intent to provide insurance for your former spouse should also be included in your marital settlement agreement provided you have one.  Second, you can redesignate your former spouse as your life insurance beneficiary after your divorce.  Contact your insurance company to update your beneficiaries after the date of your divorce.  Even if redundant, this is probably the best practice.

If either you or your spouse does not have a good divorce attorney representing your best interests, insurance beneficiary designations can easily get overlooked especially since it’s a step that may need to happen after the divorce is finalized.  If you have questions or concerns about making sure your life insurance beneficiaries are appropriate after your divorce, please feel free to contact us.

Contact Oak Brook Divorce Attorney

Goodman Law Firm is a trusted Oak Brook, Illinois divorce law firm, and we understand the delicacy of your situation and are committed to helping you find the best path forward for you. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.


Facebook Twitter shop insta



Related Posts

Tips for a Successful Parenting Time Negotiation

06 Feb 2024

Tips for a Successful Parenting Time Negotiation Parenting time negotiations can be a challenging and emotionally charged process. But with the right approach, preparation, and legal guidance, it becomes possible…

Cryptocurrency and Divorce

14 Jan 2024

Navigating the world of cryptocurrency is already a complex task, but when divorce enters the picture, this complexity escalates. At Goodman Law Firm, we believe it's crucial for our clients…

How Do I Initiate the Divorce Process in Illinois?

20 Dec 2023

Embarking on the path of divorce can be overwhelming. The uncertainty, emotional turmoil, and legal complexities can feel daunting. At Goodman Law Firm, we understand these challenges and are committed…

Feel Free to Ask a Question

We are here to answer any questions you may have about our legal services and how we can help with your family law problem.

We make every effort to return your email
or call the same business day or within 24 hours.

At Goodman Law Firm, we take your privacy seriously. Please leave us only a private cell phone number or private email address where you may be reached.