Getting divorced? Work with an estate planning lawyer next.
June 6, 2022
Unfortunately, the stress of divorce doesn’t end when the papers are signed. Many people don’t realize that they still need to work through their estate planning for their new circumstances. While your divorce attorney is an expert at the equitable division of marital property, they don’t have the same insight and experience in estate planning. After you go through a divorce, meeting with an estate planning lawyer in Tampa, Florida, ensures your wishes are fulfilled after you’re gone.
What happens if a spouse dies during the divorce process?
The law provides guidelines for what happens to an individual’s estate if they pass away during the divorce process. The surviving spouse is still the beneficiary under Florida law until the divorce is finalized. They receive the entire estate if there are no children and at least half if there are.
A surviving spouse is entitled to a life estate in the marital residence without a will. They may also receive up to 30 percent of the entire estate until the dissolution of the marriage.
After the divorce, the law treats the surviving spouse as though they’re deceased, removing them as beneficiaries.
What happens if you don’t have a will?
No one looks forward to estate planning and writing a will. But they’re essential documents for protecting your loved ones from the probate process and uncertainty about what you want to happen to your assets after your death.
Without a will, beneficiaries arguing about the division of assets can create strife within a family, sometimes creating divisions that last for years and even lifetimes.
A will ensures your wishes are carried out after you’re gone and protects your family against the stress of probate and the emotional strain of trying to figure out your final wishes.
The use of revocable trusts
As the name indicates, irrevocable trusts can’t be altered once established. Even after divorce, it’s impossible to change the beneficiaries of an irrevocable trust. A beneficiary can renounce their interest and, with the consent of other beneficiaries, exit the trust.
Revocable trusts, by comparison, are those that allow alteration. After a divorce, Florida law removes the surviving spouse as a beneficiary. If there are no other beneficiaries, the trust legally holds no meaning for dispersing assets after death. That’s why working with an estate planning lawyer in Tampa is crucial.
A lawyer can make the necessary adjustments to a revocable trust to restructure the beneficiaries following a divorce to reflect your wishes.
Does your estate impact your life insurance policies?
The law doesn’t impact private contracts, such as life insurance policies. If you pass away after a divorce, your policy will still designate your ex-spouse as the beneficiary. To make adjustments in private contracts, you have to contact the insurer. Request a change of beneficiary form for all your private coverage policies and designate a new person.
Get in touch with Candela Law Firm to work with an expert estate planning lawyer in Tampa, FL, after your divorce.
Candela Law Firm brings a passion for the law to every one of our clients, whether we’re providing board-certified criminal defense, appeals, or estate planning and wills. We aim to be a trusted legal resource in Tampa, Florida, to navigate the legal system. When going through a stressful or uncertain time in your life, we’re here to give accurate advice backed by integrity and honesty. After going through a divorce, we’ll help you restructure your estate to carry out your wishes after you’re gone and save your loved ones from the probate process.