While a divorce decree may settle the financial and legal aspects between former spouses, it may result in complex implications for both spouses’ estate planning. In this article, you will have a full overview of the impact of divorce on Florida estate planning.
Estate Planning for Divorced Parents in Florida – The Essentials
The first element of estate planning for divorced parents is ensuring their children’s financial safety. When a couple goes through a divorce, it is fundamental to guarantee that the children will not be negatively affected.
An expert attorney is crucial to help the parties involved to review all estate planning documents to identify whether the interests of the former couple’s children are shielded against unforeseen issues (including medical care, dental care, and education expenses).
The second element is to identify whether the divorced individuals have sufficient resources secured for the future. In such cases, it is crucial to review one’s financial situation, identify optimized ownership forms for distinct assets, and prepare for the event of incapacitation or death.
The third element is to identify whether the divorced individuals have sufficient resources exclusively for medical and end-of-life care.
Additionally, it is fundamental to have special documents in place to protect one’s interest in case of severe medical conditions, such as living wills, health care directives, or medical powers of attorney.
The Impact of Divorce on Florida Estate Planning – As Provided by Law
If a Florida resident had several estate planning tools in place when he or she was married, it is fundamental to review and update each of them after a divorce.
Florida Statutes §732.507 (2) provides that “any provision of a will that affects the testator’s spouse is void upon dissolution of the marriage of the testator and the spouse, whether the marriage occurred before or after the execution of such will.”
The same statute specifies that “upon dissolution of marriage, the will shall be construed as if the spouse died at the time of the dissolution of marriage.”
Under Florida Statutes §732.507 (2)(a), a divorce impacts estate planning documents as “the dissolution of a marriage occurs at the time the decedent’s marriage is judicially dissolved or declared invalid by court order.”
Florida Statutes §732.507 (2)(b) adds that state law “does not invalidate a provision of a will:
- Executed by the testator after the dissolution of the marriage
- If there is a specific intention to the contrary stated in the will, or
- If the dissolution of marriage judgment expressly provides otherwise”
Please note that these provisions apply to wills of deceased persons who die on or after June 29, 2021.
As described by Florida Statutes §732.703(3), the interest of a former spouse in specific assets is automatically nullified following divorce, which are:
- “A life insurance policy, qualified annuity, or other similar tax-deferred contract held within an employee benefit plan
- An employee benefit plan
- An individual retirement account described in s. 408 or s. 408A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, including an individual retirement annuity described in s. 408(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986
- A payable-on-death account
- A security or other account registered in a transfer-on-death form
- A life insurance policy, annuity, or other similar contract that is not held within an employee benefit plan or a tax-qualified retirement account”
Consult with an expert Florida attorney to update your estate planning strategies after divorce and ensure you are prepared for unforeseen circumstances.