What are the Effects of Divorce on Your Estate Plan in Florida?

If you have filed for divorce or are already divorced in the state of Florida, you need to be aware of how the dissolution of your marriage can impact your estate plan. It is important to understand that in such a case you already have an estate plan.

Either you have trust, a will, or whatever the State of Florida provides you that may include your spouse getting all or some of your assets. There are various aspects involved in this matter which need to be taken care of. You can contact any experienced estate planning attorney in Tampa for advice.

The important issues which need your attention include:

What happens during the divorce?

Many situations can occur during divorce. Your spouse may die while the divorce is pending. In this scenario, you will inherit through the deceased spouse’s will. If there is no will, then you will inherit all of the estates. So, whenever you decide on a divorce, it is important to create or amend the will to diminish the amount your spouse may inherit. Moreover, the law in Florida does not offer private contracts during a divorce such as life insurance. Therefore, you need to make sure to change the designation of beneficiaries that has the name of your spouse.

Sadly, it is not possible to disinherit your spouse completely until the divorce is granted. According to Florida Law, a surviving spouse is entitled to a life estate in the deceased spouse’s primary residence and can also claim up to 30% of the spouse’s total estate value. However, the right of the surviving spouse is not affected while is still pending. Such kind rights can only be waived by a pre or postnuptial agreement.

What happens after the divorce?

After the divorce, Florida Law treats your ex-spouse as if she or he had died at the time of dissolution which means you need not remove your ex-spouse once the divorce is complete. However, the law has now allowed including the beneficiary designations, but it is preferable to change the beneficiary on all the assets where the name of your spouse is designated. Moreover, if you wish to leave something in the name of your ex-spouse, you need to amend the documents accordingly.

What happens if you have children?

If you have children from the marriage, and one parent dies, then the surviving parent is likely to be treated as a guardian. Nothing can be done by the other spouse as the preference is statutory. The surviving parent can only be excluded if the court has deemed the other parent to be unfit to be the guardian. A secondary guardian is then nominated if the other parent is declared unfit by the court.

Though you cannot do anything to become your ex-spouse as the guardian you can keep them from controlling the assets you leave for your child including your home, bank accounts, insurance proceeds, and more. If you didn’t leave any such will then the surviving parent has full control as the children’s guardian over the inherited assets. By forming a trust, you can avoid such kind of situation. You can appoint your friend or relative to control the assets of your children. You can give the instruction on how and when the assets can be used and at what age can they be transferred to your children. Your trust can be treated separately or as a part of your will.


Divorce is a tough situation emotionally and managing your assets makes it more difficult for you as well as your family. An estate planning attorney in Tampa can make this journey of yours a bit easy. So, be informed and save the rights of your loved ones by planning for the future.

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