Culwick v. Wood, 384 F. Supp. 3d 328 (E.D.N.Y. 2019)
(a) Facts: Husband and wife were divorced. Their divorce decree incorporated a separation agreement. The agreement provided:
[T]he Husband shall otherwise retain all pensions and annuities acquired by him at any time, including during the term of the marriage. . . . The Wife waives any claims she might have in and to these benefits including the right to be named as a survivor beneficiary.
384 F. Supp. 3d at 335. The agreement further provided that “nothing herein contained shall require either party to renounce or disclaim any gift, devise or bequest which he or she may be given by the other’s Will, Trust, or other document.” Id.
The husband died. At the time of his death, the wife was still named as the survivor beneficiary of his retirement plan under a predivorce designation. The husband’s estate assigned its claim to the husband’s father. The plan paid the survivor benefits to the wife, and the father sued the wife to recover the amount paid.
(b) Issue: Who is entitled to the husband’s survivor benefits?
(c) Answer to Issue: His father. Continue reading →