Do you need to change your estate plan after divorce?

On Behalf of | May 10, 2019 | Firm News, Florida Family Law |

Who is the main beneficiary of your estate? If you were married, chances are that person would be your spouse. Here is a related question: Would you want your ex-spouse to inherit your money, even after you were divorced?

Of course, your answer is probably that you would rather have your estate pass to your children, your biological family members or even a new spouse. Thankfully, Florida law understands this common desire and has some sections that could protect your legacy.

The first one of these laws would regard wills. After a divorce, the terms in your will that name your spouse as beneficiary would become invalid. This is an automatic function of Florida law, as are the following two points in this discussion.

You may also have a revocable trust. As is the case with wills, you would have to modify the terms of your trust if you still wanted your ex as a beneficiary after your divorce.

As you can see in the Florida statutes, the most recent of these laws automatically removes your spouse from life insurance policies. As with the previous two examples of revocable trusts and wills, life insurance would probably not need any attention from you to eliminate your ex as a beneficiary. If he or she was the primary payee on the policy, it is likely that, after divorce, the payment would simply revert to the secondary or default when it came into effect.

It could still be a very good idea to review all of your estate planning documents after you had a divorce. There could be many things that need your attention, especially if you have children from your marriage. You may even want to take pre-emptive action and remove your spouse from these policies and documents sooner rather than later: The Florida law only comes into effect when your divorce becomes final. These topics are complex, so please do not view this as legal advice. It is only basic information.