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QDRO payments to AP before and after death of account holder


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My BFF’s husband recently passed away. QDRO with ex wife as AP: should the ex have been paid out her 50% of QDRO at the time of divorce 9 years ago? This is for Pension and 401K only. Life Insurance death benefit is in lieu of remaining balance of alimony upon death (12% only of Life Insurance  policy).

Noe that he is dead, what is my BFF entitled to, especially if QDRO hasn’t been yet paid to the ex? 


seems like the ex is getting all the documentation and my BFF as the current wife and executor of the Estate is getting little to no info or help from her late husbands company.

thank you.

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If a QDRO was accepted by the plan, it will be executed in accordance with its terms.  Some payments may have already been completed. Some terms of the QDRO may be triggered by the participant's death, but the benefit to the former spouse is set by the QDRO and it would be almost unheard of if a later event, such as death of the participant, would give rise to anything  of benefit to a new spouse.

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If husband was an active employee, and earned more pension benefits after divorce, new spouse may be entitled to death benefits on portion of the total husband's benefits that was earned after divorce. Knowing the employment history, and having a copy of the QDRO may help. New spouse should contact the plan sponsor and inquire in writing.

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Clarification based on Calavera’s correct observation:

A post-QDRO event, including death of the participant, almost never causes any part of the benefit awarded to the alternate payee under the QDRO to become available for the benefit of someone else, such as the new spouse.  A new spouse may have a benefit in her/his own right under the plan.  The plan should always be approached after the death of a participant to determined what benefits are payable to a potentially interested person, such a spouse.  Don’t expect to be capturing anything awarded to the former spouse under the QDRO.

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