The Effects of Divorce on a Will
Certain life events could have a major impact on provisions of your will and other estate planning documents. After you approach a divorce, you should also go through your will as soon as possible to make changes as needed. You should especially be on the lookout for the following:
- Property left to your former spouse. In many states as in Florida, any property left to your former spouse in your will is automatically revoked after your divorce. However, it’s always better to revise your will rather than rely on those rules. Go back through your will and pinpoint any instances in which you have left money or property to your former partner, and choose new beneficiaries to replace them. This will help prevent any arguments about who the actual beneficiary should be after you pass, and make the document much easier to follow overall. You should do the same for beneficiary designations on life insurance and retirement plans and joint accounts.
- Your former spouse as personal representative of your estate. A divorce will also typically revoke an ex-spouse’s appointment as estate personal representative (called an executor in some states) or trustee, but again, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Choose a new executor of your estate. If you pass away without a new personal representative being named, the probate court will choose one in your stead. You most likely have a better idea than the courts about who is best suited to be your personal representative, so make sure you make this decision yourself.
If you pass away while in the process of seeking a divorce, any assets left to your spouse would still be valid.
Speak with an experienced Tampa estate planning attorney from BaumannKangas Estate Law. for more information on how to alter your will after a divorce and ensure you have full control over how your assets are passed on to your friends and family members.