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After a divorce in Florida, it is crucial to revisit and revise your estate plan to reflect your new circumstances. This process involves updating key documents such as your will, trust, power of attorney, and healthcare directives to ensure that they align with your current wishes and legal situation. In Florida, divorce can significantly impact estate planning, as it may invalidate certain provisions that previously included your ex-spouse. For example,  according to Fla.Stat. §732.507(2), any provision in a will that a married person executed that affects their spouse becomes void upon divorce, dissolution, or annulment unless the will or the divorce decree or judgment explicitly says that the inheritance remains in effect. Therefore, it is important to undertake a thorough review of your estate plan, ideally with the guidance of an attorney experienced in Florida estate law, to ensure that you clearly express whatever your intentions are. 

Updating your estate plan after a divorce in Florida is a crucial step to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your current wishes. Here are some key changes you might want to consider:

  • Revise Your Will: Your will should be updated to reflect your new marital status. This may include changing beneficiaries, especially if your ex-spouse was the primary beneficiary. Consider appointing a new personal representative or trustee if your ex-spouse was previously designated in these roles.
  • Update Beneficiary Designations: Review and update beneficiary designations on life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and any other accounts that have designated beneficiaries. As stated above, certain designations in favor of an ex-spouse are automatically voided upon divorce, but it is still important to update these to reflect your current intentions.
  • Revise Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives: If your ex-spouse was named as your agent in a Power of Attorney or Health Care Surrogate designation, it is likely that you will want to appoint someone else. These documents give someone else the authority to make financial or healthcare decisions on your behalf, so it is crucial that they reflect your current trust relationships.
  • Trusts and Guardianship Designations: If you have established any trusts, review and possibly amend them, especially if your ex-spouse is named as a trustee or beneficiary. Similarly, if you have minor children, consider updating guardianship designations in your will, as the other parent generally assumes custody, but there may be considerations for alternate guardians in certain circumstances.
  • Real Estate and Property Titles: If you own property jointly with your ex-spouse, you might need to transfer titles or refinance mortgages. This can include homes, cars, and other significant assets that were jointly owned.
  • Revisit Tax Planning: Your tax situation may change significantly after a divorce. You may want to consult with a tax professional to understand any new tax implications and adjust your estate plan accordingly.
  • Consider New Estate Planning Needs: Your financial situation may have changed after your divorce. Different estate strategies may be needed as a result. For example, if you have received a substantial amount from a divorce settlement, you might need new or additional estate planning tools to manage these assets effectively.

Conclusion

Estate planning can be complex and should be reviewed and possibly updated after any major life event, including divorce, to ensure that it continues to align with your current situation and goals. It is advisable to consult with a Florida attorney who is experienced in estate planning to ensure that your estate plan accurately reflects your current circumstances and complies with Florida law.  Verras Law has offices in Palm Harbor, Tampa, and St. Petersburg, Florida, and has experienced attorneys who can help you with your estate planning.  Contact our office for an initial consultation.