Marriage & Divorce
Getting married or divorced will have legal and financial implications to your medical and pension benefits. It is important to review and address these benefit plan issues early on. The following checklist may be of help to simplify the necessary steps you need to take in regard to your benefits.
- Enroll your new spouse. Complete a Dependent Enrollment Form and send it to Northwest Carpenters Trusts. Medical, prescriptions, dental, or vision claims cannot be processed until the enrollment process is complete. A copy of your marriage certificate must be included.
- Enroll stepchildren, if applicable. Complete a Dependent Enrollment Form and send it to Northwest Carpenters Trusts. You must include a copy of each child’s birth certificate. Stepchildren through age 25 are eligible for enrollment in the plan.
- Review retirement plan beneficiaries. If you are vested in the Northwest Carpenters Retirement Plan or Northwest Carpenters Individual Account Pension Plan and die before you retire, benefits are available. Your spouse automatically becomes your beneficiary when you get married.
- Review your life insurance beneficiary. Your life insurance beneficiary can be anyone except an employer and yourself. To change the name of the beneficiary, complete a new Change of Beneficiary form. If you do not name a beneficiary, proceeds are paid to the first survivor in the following order: (1) spouse; (2) children, in equal shares: (3) parents, in equal shares; (4) brothers and sisters, in equal shares; (5) executors or administrators.
- Notify Northwest Carpenters Trusts immediately after divorce becomes final. A new Enrollment Application must be completed when there is a marriage, divorce or a change in beneficiary designation. You will have to submit a copy of the final divorce decree to finalize changes to your benefits. Northwest Carpenters Trusts will notify your ex-spouse of any continuing coverage options.
- Review your life insurance beneficiary. If you designated a person who is or subsequently became your spouse, the beneficiary designation is automatically revoked if the marriage is subsequently dissolved or invalidated, unless you redesignate the former spouse following the dissolution or invalidation of the marriage. Whether you want to designate a different beneficiary or redesignate a former spouse, a completed Change of Beneficiary form is required.
- Review retirement plan beneficiary. Your spouse automatically becomes your beneficiary when you get married. This beneficiary designation is automatically revoked if the marriage is subsequently dissolved or invalidated, unless you redesignate your former spouse following the dissolution or except as otherwise provided in a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Whether you want to designate a different beneficiary or redesignate a former spouse, a completed Change of Beneficiary form is required.
- Prepare for a QDRO. By law, the Retirement and Individual Account Plans have a procedure by which you and a spouse can determine and allocate your pension benefits. The end result is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), which must be approved and filed with the court and with Northwest Carpenters Trusts. Sample documents can be found here.
- Review the Pop-Up Benefit. If you and your spouse divorce after you begin receiving one of the joint and survivor benefits, and your spouse agrees in a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to relinquish all of his or her rights to your retirement benefits, your benefit is increased to the amount that would have been available under a single life benefit on your retirement effective date. Learn more.
If you are married or planning to be, financial planners recommend creating and/or updating a number of personal plans and documents. Here is a list items which you may need to consider: