Divorce can affect your life in several ways. However, one thing that people often overlook about divorce is the effect it can have on one’s estate plan. To put it simply, estate plan changes are almost always required following a divorce. In this article, we examine how divorce affects an estate plan in Florida.
Last Will and Testament
Florida law automatically invalidates provisions of your will that benefit your ex-spouse unless the will specifically states otherwise. However, if you have failed to provide a secondary designation for assets that would have gone to your spouse prior to the divorce, then the state may have to determine how to distribute these assets. To avoid this outcome, it is advisable that you review and update your will following a divorce.
If your estate plan contains a trust, you may also need to revisit this document following your divorce. As is the case with wills, couples often list one another as their trust beneficiaries. However, Florida law treats trusts similarly to wills in the case of divorce, invalidating those provisions that benefit an ex-spouse. So, unless you add one or more new beneficiaries to your trust following your divorce, then your assets may not be distrusted according to your wishes.
It is typical for married couples to name one another as beneficiaries on their retirement plans, insurance policies, and similar types of assets. However, like a will, the state of Florida treats such designations as null and void after a divorce. Therefore, to avoid the state choosing who will receive these assets, it is necessary to name new beneficiaries to these types of accounts following a divorce.
Healthcare Designations and Powers of Attorney
Florida law allows people to nominate one or more individuals to make healthcare and financial decisions on their behalf should they become unable to do so themselves. Examples of such healthcare decisions include whether to maintain life support or to elect certain medical treatments. And in the area of finances, a power of attorney permits an individual to access another’s finances and take certain actions regarding financial matters. Married couples often rely on one another to fill these roles. However, like other types of estate planning documents, Florida law invalidates such designations after a divorce. Therefore, following a divorce, it is important to review and update these documents with the help of an experienced lawyer.
Contact a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer
If you need to create or make changes to an estate plan, the Law Office of Angela Siegel is here to help. When you come to experienced attorney Angela Siegel for assistance with your estate planning needs, you can rest assured that your estate plan is in good hands. Please contact us today to arrange a confidential consultation with our talented Florida estate planning lawyer.