When you retired, you had the opportunity to designate beneficiaries for both your life insurance benefit and retirement option. Subsequent marriage or divorce could have an impact on the beneficiary designation.
Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation
If you married after your date of retirement, your marriage will void the primary beneficiary designation, even that of a trust, for your life insurance benefit. Your spouse shall then be considered as the primary beneficiary, unless you designate another beneficiary after your marriage. Likewise, if you divorce after your date of retirement, the divorce will void the designation of the former spouse as beneficiary for the life insurance benefit. Your estate shall then be considered as the primary beneficiary, unless you designate another beneficiary after the divorce.
Changing Your Retirement Option
If you should marry or divorce after your date of retirement, you may be eligible to make a change to your current retirement option. This election must be done within 60 days of the marriage or divorce. You should contact TRS for information on the impact to your retirement option.
Supreme Court Ruling on Treatment of Teachers’ Pensions in Divorce Proceedings
On April 13, 2010, House Bill 289 was signed into law. This legislation, which became effective on July 15, 2010, requires TRS to accept Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs). QDROs may be issued by a court of law to award a portion of a member’s service retirement allowance, disability retirement allowance or termination refund for the benefit of a spouse, child or other dependent. Members’ retirement allowances were already potentially and conditionally subject to classification and division as marital property as a result of the Kentucky Supreme Court ruling in the case of Shown v. Shown, 233 S.W. 3d 718 (Ky. 2007). The effect of House Bill 289, therefore, is that a member’s retirement allowance, or termination refund, can now be divided by a court between the member and ex-spouse as TRS issues payment, rather than a court ordering that the payment be divided by the member once he or she receives it.
For forms and more information, go to the QDRO page.