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Divorcees Turn About In Their Graves As Ex-Spouses Cash In: Codified Constructive Trusts Ensure An Equitable Result Regarding Erisa-Governed Employee Benefit Plans, Sarabeth A. Rayho Jan 2007

Divorcees Turn About In Their Graves As Ex-Spouses Cash In: Codified Constructive Trusts Ensure An Equitable Result Regarding Erisa-Governed Employee Benefit Plans, Sarabeth A. Rayho

Michigan Law Review

A revocation-by-divorce statute essentially nullifies a devise in a divorced decedent's will when the devise bequeaths property to the decedent's ex-spouse and the will was executed during their marriage. Until recently, state revocation-by-divorce statutes unquestionably applied not only to wills but also to will substitutes, including ERISA-governed employee benefit plans. In 2001, the Supreme Court held in Egelhoff v. Egelhoff ex rel. Breiner that ERISA preempts traditional state revocation-by-divorce statutes as applied to ERISA-governed employee benefit plans. In the wake of the Egelhoff decision, plan administrators may automatically pay proceeds to the listed beneficiary, even an ex-spouse, regardless ...