It is a problem that ERISA causes family-law and estate practitioners. A person participates in an employee pension plan, and has designated her spouse as beneficiary. There is a divorce, and the spouse waives any claim to the pension as part of the property settlement, but no Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is ever issued. To add insult to injury, the plan participant never bothers to change the beneficiary designation. Plan participant later dies, and the  retirement plan administrator pays the death benefit to the ex-spouse.Continue Reading ERISA Ends When the Money is Paid