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How does a divorce affect your estate plan in Florida?

On Behalf of | Oct 9, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Expecting that you would be together for life, you likely included your former spouse in your estate plan. But with the end of your marriage, it is now necessary for you to cut any emotional and financial ties to your former spouse. Although divorce overrides a will in Florida, major life events like this are still an excellent time to review and update your estate plan.

Why updating your estate plan after divorce is essential

Under Florida law, a divorce, separation, or annulment invalidates any parts of your will that name your former spouse. Your former spouse cannot inherit your estate unless you explicitly say so in your will or divorce decree.

Then, why bother reviewing your will?

Upon divorce or annulment, the execution of a will should proceed as if the former spouse has passed away. Choosing not to update your estate plan could lead to confusion in the future.

Your former spouse may no longer have any rights to your estate, but leaving their name could encourage them to contest your will and cause problems.

Any bequests made in your former spouse’s name should go to your other beneficiaries. If you did not identify any, they will pass to your heirs through intestate succession. However, this may not be in line with what you really want. You can clarify your intentions and have greater control over the distribution of your estate by updating your will.

Additionally, if you do want to leave something behind to your former spouse, then you must renew your beneficiary designations accordingly.

Revisiting your will after divorce

Divorce and other major life changes are an ideal time to review your estate plan and make any necessary adjustments. By reviewing it, you can ensure it accurately represents your current desires and circumstances. Given the complexity of Florida’s estate laws, it is wise to consult a lawyer when revising an existing estate plan.