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Question: I need info pertaining to my rights power of attorney for my father and how to keep ex-stepmother from getting his pension.


Under Arizona law, unless the will states otherwise, a divorce automatically revokes any provisions naming an ex-spouse as a beneficiary or as an executor, trustee, conservator or guardian; however, beneficiary designations for life insurance, individual retirement accounts and pensions, as discussed below, must be changed after divorce. A.R.S. § 14-2804.

A power of attorney is a written document in which someone who owns property (which includes land, investments, personal property, etc.) gives an agent (also known as the attorney in fact) the legal authority to deal with the owner’s property. This authority generally includes the right to make financial decisions for the property owner (also called the principal) as well as other types of decisions that affect the principal. As power of attorney, in order to protect the principal’s pension from being given to a divorced spouse, it is necessary to change the beneficiary listed on the pension. This can be done by filling out a new beneficiary designation form at the former employer’s benefits or human resource office. If the pension lists the former spouse as beneficiary and the pensioner does not change the beneficiary named on the pension, and then dies, the former spouse may receive the pension benefits. The employer will most likely require proof of attorney in fact for the principal before allowing the beneficiary to be changed.



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