In a previous post, we talked about the Five Times You Should Update Your Will. One of the life events mentioned is when a person gets divorce. Here, we'll speak more in detail about how your will is affected in Florida when you get a divorce. Speak to a Florida wills attorney for specific guidance as it applies to your situation.
YOUR EX-SPOUSE WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY DISINHERITED BY DIVORCE
Under Florida state law, any provision of your will that affects your spouse (i.e. grants them a gift from your estate upon your death) will be automatically revoked upon the dissolution, divorce, or annulment of the marriage. The ex-spouse will be treated as if they had died at the time of dissolution, divorce, or annulment.
The effect of this will vary based upon your circumstances. In some cases, the gift that would have gone to the ex-spouse will automatically go to any children you and the ex-spouse had together. While this may seem like a satisfactory result, this can involve complicated probate issues with children fighting over how to divide property amongst themselves, such as a house, family heirlooms, or other difficult to value or divide assets. The gifts to the spouse might also go back to the estate, and a court will have to determine how to distribute the assets in probate based on state law, and in spite of any alternative promises you might have made outside of a will.
Note that you can avoid this result of disinheriting a spouse through either a specific provision in the will directing a new result or a divorce decree which dictates effects on the will.
In addition, this only takes effect on the actual date of the divorce. Even if you have been separated for years, and die the date before a divorce is finalized, the spouse would still take the initial gift under the will, thus changing your estate planning should happen in conjunction with divorce matters.
WORK WITH A FLORIDA WILLS ATTORNEY TO AVOID EXPENSE AND CONFUSION
The best way to avoid any confusion or unnecessary litigation, arguments, and delay is to simply work with a Florida wills attorney to make your wishes clear in a legally valid and enforceable will at the earliest possible moment. Whether you want to benefit an ex-spouse or not after your passing, you can make your intentions clear by updating your will.
Divorce is generally an important time to update your will anyway, as a person's assets are greatly affected in most cases by the results of a divorce, as are the identity of other beneficiaries you might want to benefit, such as in-laws or new people in your life.
CONTACT FLORIDA WILLS ATTORNEY RYAN MYNARD TODAY ABOUT CREATING YOUR WILL OR CODICIL
To being the process of creating or updating a Florida will or codicil - or to speak about any estate planning questions or concerns you have - contact Florida estate planning attorney Ryan Mynard at 850-683-3940 today to get started.