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Survivor benefits for a pension plan


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1 hour ago, Jack Stevenson said:

The marital share of the Pension was split in the half and it that my ex-wife was entilited to "Any benefits under Pension Plan."

Sorry, to me that statement is self-contradictory. A marital share is a portion of a benefit (a way of establishing the value of what was awarded), and I tend to read “any” as inclusive, so your former wife received a portion, as well as everything. Perhaps some more context would help. I am suspicious of “any benefits”.

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Yeah, correct.  The original post is so brief as to be almost worthless.  To the original poster: you need legal advice from an attorney who is very familiar with QDROs.  If you have an attorney who does not meet that qualification, keep looking.

I'm a retirement actuary. Nothing about my comments is intended or should be construed as investment, tax, legal or accounting advice. Occasionally, but not all the time, it might be reasonable to interpret my comments as actuarial or consulting advice.

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"marital share" will be defined by the QDRO, but it is typically 50% of the benefit earned during the marriage, or attributed to service during the marriage.  It typically applies to all rights and features of those benefits, including death, disability, early retirement, etc.  Different ways to handle all of that.  There are "shared interest" and "separate interest" QDROs that can produce different outcomes. 

As David said, these are very significant legal issues and if you attorney isn't familiar, find one that is.

The material provided and the opinions expressed in this post are for general informational purposes only and should not be used or relied upon as the basis for any action or inaction. You should obtain appropriate tax, legal, or other professional advice.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Late to the party on this one...Jack, your original post makes me think you may have a public retirement plan?  If yes then we often see a public retirement plan not permit a separate interest DRO which then requires a shared interest DRO plus post-retirement survivor benefit election.  In those situations the former spouse typically pays for the survivor benefit election (in CA anyway) so that their awarded benefit will continue for their lifetime should the participant/member die first.   If this is for a private plan covered under ERISA, you would want to use a "separate interest" QDRO as mentioned previously in this thread and then you do not need to worry about survivor benefits.

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