Revising Your Estate Plan After Divorce

Revising Your Estate Plan After Divorce

Divorce at any age causes a ripple of changes. Understanding and responding to those changes means updating your will and estate plan.

Attending to your estate plan during and after a divorce is important to ensure your wealth is directed appropriately. Should you pass away during divorce proceedings without changing important documents, your will may entitle your estranged spouse to inherit your estate.

Consider these points to address during divorce:

  • Advanced medical directive: Many people designate their spouse as their advocate if they become incapacitated, or to carry out their end-of-life care. During divorce, revisit your choice of health care surrogate.
  • Bequests and gifts: Revise your beneficiary designations on trusts, insurance and retirement accounts. Revise bequests and gifts as needed.
  • Executor or personal representative: If your estranged spouse is named as executor (personal representative) of your will, consider a new representative to settle your estate and carry out your wishes.

After your divorce is final, the law provides protection to ensure your ex-spouse is not automatically enriched if you pass away. Florida statutes automatically excludes an ex-spouse from the following:

  • A will
  • Revocable trust
  • Life insurance policy
  • Individual retirement accounts
  • Annuity
  • Transfer-on-death accounts

Despite legislation, the law does not close all loopholes, or make important decisions to protect your wealth after divorce. While your ex-spouse may no longer inherit your estate, a new will must be prepared to direct distribution of your assets. Otherwise, the division occurs upon your death based on a state formula.

Divorce changes many things. Whether you are considering divorce or are in the midst of ending your marriage, speak to an experienced Tampa estate planning attorney about your estate plan.