Who Gets The Money? The Widow or the Former Wife: An Analysis of Virginia Code Section 20-111.1

This article originally appeared in the Journal of Civil Litigation, Vol. 21, No. 1 (Winter 2019), a publication of the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys. It appears here with permission.

Attorney Robert B. “Chip” Delano, Jr. recently published an article in the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys (VADA) Spring 2019 Journal, entitled “Who Gets The Money? The Widow or the Former Wife” analyzing Virginia Code Section 20-111.1 and the body of law developed over the past quarter of a century on its automatic statutory revocation-on-divorce of beneficiary designations.


In “Who Gets the Money?” former VADA President Robert B. “Chip” Delano, Jr., addresses the issue of whether divorce nullifies the designation of a former spouse as a beneficiary in a life insurance policy or other death benefit contract (retirement plan, annuity, etc.).

Delano traces Virginia law on this subject from its common law roots to the enactment of Va. Code §20.111.1 in 1993, which changed the paradigm in this area of the law.  However, the enactment of this section did not solve all issues, and Delano walks Journal of Civil Litigation readers through the amendments to the statute, and various cases interpreting the statute.


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