Getting Divorced in Florida? What to Know About Your Estate Planning
If you and your spouse are separating, it is crucial that you tie up all of the financial and legal loose ends before finalizing your divorce. Estate planning is an important area that can easily get overlooked in the confusion.
While Florida has some laws in place that help to make the process easier, spouses still need to take proactive steps to update their legal documents. In this article, our Boca Raton and Coral Springs divorce lawyers discuss the key things you should know about separation and estate planning in Florida.
Florida Law: Divorce Voids Certain Interests
In Florida, certain interests/inheritance rights are voided the moment a divorce is finalized. In other words, the mere act of divorce will alter certain rights. Here are the two most important things you should know:
- Last Will & Testament: Any provision in a last will & testament that favors a divorced spouse will be read as if that spouse has already passed away (Florida Statutes § 732.507). If your spouse is included in your will and you get divorced in Florida, those specific provisions are considered void—unless stated otherwise.
- Revocable Living Trust: The law is similar for revocable living trusts (Florida Statutes § 736.1105). A spouse’s interests in a revocable trust will be void upon divorce, unless the trust documents expressly state otherwise
To be clear, Florida law does not prohibit a person from including their former spouse in their will or their revocable living trust. Quite the contrary, you have the right to a divorce agreement or the specific language of the will could keep it valid through the separation.
You Still Need to Update Your Estate Planning Documents
While Florida law helps to make the estate planning process easier for divorcing couples, it is still important to take action to protect your rights and interests. Do not assume that all of your estate planning documents will update automatically when your divorce is finalized. Without action, a former spouse may still have inheritance rights. Further, lack of clarity could lead to a serious dispute in the future. A divorce is a significant change—an estate plan should be reviewed and your legal documents should be revised to account for this change.
High Net Worth Couples Face Unique Challenges
Divorce can be more complicated for high income couples. Not only do high net worth couples have more assets to deal with, but they often own complex property—such as real estate, investments, business interests, or retirement accounts. If you are a member of a high net worth couple, you should be sure to consider your divorce’s impact on your estate plan.
Call Our South Florida Divorce Lawyers for Help
At Williams & Varsegi, LLC, our Florida family attorneys provide reliable, effective advocacy for our clients. We have extensive experience handling high net worth divorce cases. If you have questions about divorce and estate planning, we are here to help.
To arrange a completely confidential review of your case, please contact our law firm right away. With offices in Coral Springs and Boca Raton, we are well-positioned to represent clients throughout Southeastern Florida.