Divorce and Estate Planning

In Florida as with most states, Estate Planning is something that needs to be addressed when one has major changes in their life. This includes divorce and separation.

You only have to think about your spouse or ex-spouse getting all of your assets if you should die to realize the importance of addressing the issue.

In the last year I have seen a number of families who have been adversely affected because of a lack of planning. Several couples were separated for many years when one died and the estranged spouse received a significant portion of the estate. In Florida, even if you change you will to disinherit your spouse, the spouse is entitled to an elective share of your estate. This is equal to 30 percent of your entire estate. If you are divorced in theory, go ahead and file the paperwork to make it official.

When you get a divorce, be sure to change payable of death designations on your retirement accounts, life insurance, bank accounts.

Be sure to revoke any guarantees associated with credit established in both of your names. Change the way property is owned, even if you plan on selling it soon.

The 401(k)s is also a non-probate assets also, but be careful because ERISA, a federal law, protects a surviving spouse. I have seen children loose their parents life insurance because their parent never finalized the divorce and made changes when they separated from their spouse decades ago. If you are getting a divorce be sure that proper paperwork to change the designations is made part of the divorce or separation agreement.

Unless your Florida Divorce Lawyer is also a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer, it is best to have a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer Contact and work with your Florida Divorce Attorney.

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