Canmy boyfriend make me his pension beneficiary even if he is married but separated?

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Canmy boyfriend make me his pension beneficiary even if he is married but separated?

Asked on December 27, 2011 under Estate Planning, Alaska

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If your boyfriend lives in a community property state such as CA, community property is property acquired during marriage.  This also applies to income earned during marriage.  Each spouse has a one half interest in community property.

Separate property is property acquired before marriage or after the marriage ends.  This also applies to income earned before marriage or after the marriage ends.  A spouse has no claim to the other spouse's separate property.  If the spouses are separated with no intent to reunite, income after separation is separate property.

The problem you will have is a legal challenge from the ex-wife regarding the pension.  The portion of the pension that is the result of income during marriage is community property and she would be entitled to one half that portion of the pension during the years that she was married.

After separation with no intent to reunite, that portion of the pension would be your boyfriend's separate property and he can do whatever he wants with the separate property.  So, if you are designated the beneficiary of the pension, it would only apply to earnings after he is separated from his wife with no intent to reunite.

If you don't live in a community property state, other rules may be applicable.


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