I am recently divorced, but I have not yet removed my former spouse as the designated beneficiary of my Will/Power of Attorney/insurance policies/annuity contracts/pension plan/profit sharing plan. If I die before changing the designation, will the designation of my former spouse be honored?

For Pennsylvania residents, any revocable designation on such contracts in favor of a former spouse will not be effective and will be construed under Pennsylvania statute as if the former spouse had died before you, provided that the wording of the designation or a court order does not indicate that such designation was intended to survive the divorce. It should be noted however, that an insurance company, pension or profit sharing plan administrator or other obligor is not liable for paying the proceeds to a former spouse if such payment would be proper but for this statute. In such a case, the contingent beneficiary could only pursue a claim against the former spouse who received such proceeds. Therefore, the safest way to ensure that the proceeds are paid to a desired beneficiary is to change the beneficiary designations of such contracts upon divorce. Furthermore, since the statute does not apply to individuals who are merely separated, beneficiary designations in favor of the soon-to-be former spouse should probably be changed upon separation whenever possible.