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Florida Divorces and Estate Planning

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What is the relationship between divorce in Orlando and estate planning? Although making changes to your will or updating your beneficiaries on your life insurance policy might not be the first thing on your mind when you are going through a complex and contentious divorce, it is nonetheless important to keep in mind that your divorce should result in a reexamination of your estate planning materials.

According to an article in Forbes Magazine, there are numerous estate planning considerations that should arise in every divorce case. Whether you are young and are getting divorced after a short-term marriage or are planning for a “gray divorce” after retirement, it is essential to understand the ways in which divorce and estate planning can intertwine with one another.  We will discuss a few of those below.

Make Changes to Your Will, or Draft a Will 

If you do not have a will and are in the early stages of your divorce case, you should consider creating one as soon as possible. If you were to die in Florida without a will, Florida law then would require your assets to be distributed according to Florida’s intestacy laws. Intestacy laws govern the distribution of a person’s property when that person dies intestate (which is a word that means without a valid will). Why would it matter if you were to die unexpectedly without a will during your divorce? In short, Florida’s intestacy laws would likely result in your soon-to-be ex-spouse still receiving your assets. To avoid this, you can make a will that details how you want your property to be distributed in the event of your death.

If you already have a will, you will likely want to revisit it during or after your divorce. Most likely, you have named your spouse as the person who will receive some if not all of your property in the event of your death. For most Floridians who are getting divorced, they want to make sure someone besides their spouse will inherit their assets. As such, it is important to ensure that your will is up-to-date and names the people who you want to inherit your property.

Look at Your Beneficiaries 

In certain types of accounts and insurance policies, you probably have named your spouse as the beneficiary. While the outcome of your divorce could result in certain accounts being subject to division and your spouse receiving some of those assets (such as retirement accounts), you may want to consider changing beneficiaries on your life insurance policy as soon as possible. And once your divorce is finalized, you will also probably want to consider changing the beneficiaries on any accounts.

You should speak with an Orlando divorce lawyer about when you can change beneficiaries and whether you need to wait until your divorce is finalized and marital property has been distributed.

Florida Advance Directives and Your Divorce 

Finally, you will likely want to amend some of your advance directives. As the Florida Health Care Association explains, advance directives allow you to plan for your health care in the event that you ever become incapacitated and cannot voice your decisions for yourself. There are a number of different types of advance directives, and some of them do not have anything to do with your spouse. For example, a living will allows you to state what your wishes are in the event you cannot communicate them yourself.

However, your Health Care Surrogate Designation Form most likely names your spouse as the person who you have selected to make health care decisions for you if you cannot do so on your own. Most people who are getting divorce want to amend this form and designate another trustworthy person as their health care surrogate.

Contact an Orlando Divorce Lawyer 

The process of divorce itself is complicated and difficult, but it is important to be aware of issues beyond your divorce like estate planning that you should be considering. An experienced Orlando divorce lawyer can speak with you today. Contact Anderson & Ferrin for more information.

Resources:

forbes.com/sites/christinefletcher/2018/06/19/8-estate-planning-moves-if-you-are-getting-divorced/#6f503b8e6419

fhca.org/consumers/health_care_advanced_directives

https://www.vandersonlaw.com/divorce-and-child-custody-considerations-around-the-holidays/

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