Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.
As a general rule the QDRO would go to the deceased's estate and/or heirs, either through intestate succession or as a result of a will. It is even possible that they designated a beneficiary to inherit.
However, there is a slight chance that the retirement policy would revert. You would want to get a copy of the "plan documents" and a copy of the divorce order and the QDRO and take them to a lawyer that does ERISA work. You can find one of those at www.lawyers.com.
Some pension plans have clauses in them that prevent them from being divided or awarded to an ex. It cas be because they are a certain kind of plan or it can be because they have special wording in them. If that was the case then the plan manager should have caught it when the QDRO was entered but I have talked to several people lately who are finding that the plan managers don't always understand the details of the plan and therefore they aren't catching these issues. An ERISA lawyer will know what to look for an can review the paperwork to see if the language is in there.
To be clear, the chances aren't good that the plan will revert back to you but there is a possibility. It's not because the QDRO fails or is annulled, it will be because the plan itself prevents it from being transferred.
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Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread. I want to be sure that all of your questions are answered. In addition, once you issue your Positive Rating the question will lock open and no longer time out so you can come back to it anytime in the future if you think of any follow ups.