Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Beneficiaries

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Q. I will be retiring this summer, and my ex-husband has remarried, so he has no claim to my annuity when I die. Can I choose to leave my annuity to my children?

A. No. However, if you designate them as your beneficiaries and die before your contributions to the retirement fund have been returned to you in your annuity payments, any remaining amount would be paid to them.

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Survivor, family benefits after divorce

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Q: My father passed away at age 79 on Oct. 29. He and my mother divorced Jan. 31, 1985, and she never remarried. He remarried, but his wife passed away Jan. 26, 2009. He has two adult children from his first marriage. Would his former spouse be entitled to any benefits before his children? There is no beneficiary and no court order on file.

A: She wouldn’t be entitled to any retirement benefits. Whether she would have title to any Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance benefits would depend on who he had designated as his beneficiary.

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Survivor annuity and ex-spouses

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Q: My husband was previously married, and a portion of his retirement was going to his ex-wife. After we married, I signed a paper giving her the full annuity if he were to pass away. My husband has since passed away, and she is now receiving the full amount. As per the papers I signed, if she passes away before me I am to receive the full amount. If she were to pass away, who do I contact, or will they contact me?

A: Because your original paperwork specified that you would receive the full survivor annuity if your husband’s former spouse died, you only need to make sure that the Office of Personnel Management has your current address. If it hasn’t changed since the original papers were filed, you don’t need to do anything. If it has, send that information to OPM, Retirement Operations Center, P.O. Box 45, Boyers, PA 16017-0045, along with your late husband’s CSA (Civil Service Annuity) number. You don’t need to keep track of your late husband’s ex. If she were to die, OPM would learn about that and begin the process of providing the survivor annuity to you.

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