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"The divorce decree provided that Patricia, [Gary's] former spouse [of almost 30 years at their divorce in 1993], would be ... named as the survivor beneficiary if Gary elected a pension with a survivor benefit.... Gary remarried ... [and] made a pension benefit election, choosing a joint and 50% survivor annuity in favor of Shelly, his new wife.... [In 2005, Patricia served an order on the plan.] Gary then died [later in 2005] ... The [Minnesota Supreme Court] concluded that Shelly's right to the survivor benefit vested when Gary retired and elected a survivor benefit in her favor. Because Patricia did not provide the domestic relations order to the plan until after Gary had elected his form of retirement benefit, it was too late for Patricia to claim her share of Gary's pension, at least from the portion otherwise payable to Shelly (which after Gary's death, was the only benefit being paid)."
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