Skip to Main

Left Out in the Dark

  • Oppenheimer Life Agency, Ltd.
  • September 19, 2022

Tony, 42, and Lacy, 40 were married for 10 years and lived a comfortable lifestyle. Tony’s income was sufficient for the two of them to live on, allowing Lacy to have time to enjoy volunteering at her local community center. It was during the last two years in her new role there that Lacy began to grow apart from Tony, and ultimately they separated. Seeking a divorce, Lacy sought out the best divorce attorney she could find and ended up receiving more than her half of their joint assets upon the settlement of the divorce. Needless to say, this left Tony devasted emotionally and drained financially.

man and woman working at a counter

After six months, Tony decided that he was not going to spend any more time dwelling on the past, it was time for him to move forward. Tony discusses his new vision of opening a restaurant with his Financial Professional. They agree that he had enough to start it up, a dream that Tony always wanted to pursue but Lacy always objected to. Six months after opening the restaurant, Tony meets Jenn, and a year later they get married. Everything in Tony’s life is finally falling into place, and for the first time in years, he is happy and looking forward to what the future would bring.

On the second anniversary of his restaurant, Tony dies suddenly of a heart attack. It was a shock to everyone, especially Jenn who envisioned spending her life with Tony. When Jenn meets with an attorney to settle Tony’s estate, she finds out that most of Tony’s assets still had his ex-wife listed as beneficiary. Tony was so hurt by the divorce and overwhelmed with the opening of his restaurant; he and his Financial Professional never thought to review and discuss all of Tony’s financial and legal documents, like his IRA, Annuity, Life Insurance and his current Trust. With Lacy still listed as the beneficiary, she was entitled to the funds from these investment accounts, which she happily accepted. Devastated by this news, Jenn takes Lacy to court to recover his estate. The court decides that the estate will be split between Jenn and Lacy. Upon hearing this news, Tony’s Financial Professional is heartbroken for Jenn, knowing this is not what Tony would have wanted. He feels so disheartened that he didn’t engage Tony in a conversation about reviewing and updating beneficiaries periodically while he was still alive and thriving in his new life.

If Tony had updated his estate plan after his divorce – he could have protected his assets, ensuring his current wife Jenn received his legacy as he would have intended.


© 2022 Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. Transacts Business on All Principal

Exchanges and Member SIPC. All rights reserved. 4898653.1