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HANDLE DIVORCE BUSINESS AS THOUGH THE UNTHINKABLE, SUCH AS A DEATH, MAY HAPPEN

A client of mine recently died unexpectedly. It was a very sad event. We were all happy that he had been able to navigate the emotions of his divorce–which he did not want–and establish what he viewed as his dream life in the hills of the Appalachian Mountains. After his death, questions arose as to his estate, life insurance benefits, and benefits under his pension plans. His current wife had alleged that he failed to change his former wife as a beneficiary on one of his death benefits after the divorce. This lead his former wife to seek those benefits. Fortunately for the estate of this former client, our divorce agreements have at least two blanket waivers of any and all interests in pension plans or estates, etc. Also, fortunately for the estate, the client had changed beneficiaries on other death benefits at our urging. Our firm employs an “exit interview” where we meet with the client after entry of the divorce to go over matters that should be taken care of in the post divorce environment. This checklist is designed to make sure that the other parties’ name does not remain on credit cards, bank accounts, pensions, or life insurance policies. We remind our clients at the exit interview to take care of any of these loose ends, just in case they might have forgotten. This exit interview checklist may be found in my latest ABA book, Forms, Checklists and Procedures for the Family Lawyer which may be ordered by going to the “ store” at our web site at www.chinnandassociates.com.