Who Makes the Survivor Benefit Selections?

In a divorce case, a pension survivor benefit is an asset which is in play for division. Recently the Maryland Court of Special Appeals struck down a decision of the Carroll County Circuit Court which determined that a former husband had the right to make a selection of the options available for a survivor benefit which had been assigned to his wife. The appeals court held that the Circuit Court, among other things, had to look at what a reasonable person interpreting the parties’ agreement would have decided. This case illustrates that division of retirement benefits is a complicated process and is best accomplished when experienced divorce lawyers are involved in preparing the property settlement agreements.

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