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West County Family Law
1190 Meramec Station Rd.
First Bank Bldg., Suite 203
Ballwin, MO 63021
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West County Family Law
Ballwin, Mo. Office
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West County Family Law is located in Ballwin, Missouri, and serves the cities of St. Louis, Chesterfield, Fenton, Valley Park, Clayton, Creve
Coeur, Kirkwood, Des Peres, Webster Groves, Manchester, Eureka, Hillsboro, Maryland Heights, Town and Country, Ellisville, Frontenac,
Wildwood, Ladue and Crestwood. We also serve other communities in St. Louis County, Jefferson County, St. Charles County, West County
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West County Family Law - Blog
Joel Case & Sally Rajnoha
Warnings to Clients Regarding Post Dissolution Beneficiaries - Joel Case
After a divorce, many states default a former spouse from remaining the beneficiary of retirement funds, life insurance and other benefits (in
MO 167; 461.051) unless the participant owner redoes or fills out a new designation reappointing the former spouse. However, these statutes
which may have protected a new surviving spouse in the past from seeing a deceased spouse's hard earned benefits go to a former spouse
due to oversight, are preempted by ERISA if the retirement funds are in an ERISA governed plan. In other words, ERISA preempts any state
law which provides that the beneficiary designated spouse of a non probate ERISA governed asset is revoked automatically upon divorce.
Egelhohh v Egelhoff ex. Rel Breiner, 121 S. Ct. 1322 (2001).
A pension plan governed by ERISA will be distributed to the beneficiary named on the plan designation papers whether the beneficiary is a
former spouse or not and whether a state statute is to the contrary. Your divorce client should be so advised.
Attorney Joel Case