Do Not Forget About Your Will When Getting Divorced
When you are getting a divorce, there is a lot to think about. You may be worried that you will lose the assets most precious to you or worse, you may lose custody of your children. You are likely also wondering what your life will look like once the divorce is final. These are all valid concerns, but one that is often overlooked by divorcing couples is their estate plan. However, updating your estate plan is one of the most important aspects of any divorce case and if you do not make certain changes, it is likely that your new final wishes will not be upheld.
Divorce, Estate Plans, and Florida Law
Florida law has very specific rules governing estate plans. Once your divorce is final, that is a judge has issued a divorce decree, the probate courts will assume that your spouse died at the same time of the divorce. As such, even if you did not change your estate plan and your former spouse is still named as a beneficiary, they will not receive any of your estate. Instead, your estate will be distributed according to the state’s intestacy laws. In this instance, if you have not changed your estate plan, the beneficiaries you want to receive your estate may still not have any control over them, but neither will your former spouse.
However, until your divorce is final, the law will recognize that you and your spouse are still married. As such, if you do not change your estate plan and your spouse is still named as a beneficiary, they will still receive whatever assets you have left them if you pass away during the divorce proceedings. If, on the other hand, you have changed your estate plan and pass away during the proceedings, your spouse is barred from claiming any of your assets.
Checklist for Changing Your Estate Plan
After reviewing your estate plan during the divorce process, the changes that are necessary may seem obvious to you. Still, the changes that you should make include:
- Update your will and trust
- Update your durable power of attorney, health care surrogate, and your living will
- Update the beneficiaries on all life insurance policies and other accounts
- Review the titles on any vehicles
- Update the guardian for minor children
- Ensure your home is property titled in the will
- Review the title on all financial accounts
- Revoke all prior wills and estate planning documents
Making these important changes will ensure your final wishes are upheld and that your spouse does not have any control over your assets now, and in the future.
Our Florida Divorce Lawyers can Help with All Important Aspects of Your Case
If you are getting a divorce, there are many things to consider and our Orlando family lawyers will ensure you are aware of all of them. At O’Mara Law Group, our skilled attorneys will advise on all elements of your divorce, and fight to ensure you receive the fairest settlement possible. Call us today at (407) 634-6604 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.