3 Estate Planning Updates You Can’t Ignore During a Divorce

Navigating Divorce: 3 Vital Estate Planning Updates You Can't Ignore | Florida Estate Planning

We understand that divorce is a difficult time. However, it can’t be emphasized enough to prioritize your well-being during a divorce, including your financial future.

Here are 3 essential updates to your estate plan you shouldn’t miss.

#1) Rethink Your Beneficiary Designations.

Many financial accounts, like checking, savings, investment accounts, IRAs, and life insurance policies allow you to choose who inherits the funds after you pass away. Review these accounts and update beneficiaries to reflect your current wishes.

Important Note: Retirement plans like 401(k)s might have different rules mandated by your employer, so be sure to check those details.

#2) Revise Your Estate Planning Documents (Even Temporarily).

Documents like your Will, Healthcare Surrogate Designation, and Durable Power of Attorney need a refresh.

You don’t want your soon-to-be-ex-spouse making healthcare or financial decisions, nor do you want your assets going to them unintentionally.

Temporary Fix: When the divorce is actually finalized, most states treat your ex-spouse as having pre-deceased you, essentially removing them from your estate plan. However, during the interim, any existing designations for them remain valid. Consider creating temporary documents reflecting your current wishes until the divorce is final.

#3) Don’t Forget About Your Property Deeds.

Often, divorce settlements will award the primary residence to one spouse. However, that doesn’t automatically change the ownership of the deed. Those “Tenants by the Entirety” rights you enjoyed as a married couple likely shift to “Tenants in Common” after the divorce. This means each spouse owns a 50% share, and if one dies without updating the deed, their share goes through probate, potentially causing delays and unintended inheritances. Resolve this by updating the deed to reflect the final agreement after the divorce is complete.

Remember: Consulting with an estate planning attorney during your divorce is highly recommended. They can guide you through these updates and ensure your wishes are clearly documented to avoid future complications.

Get a Head Start with Our Free Guide

We’ve created a free downloadable guide that provides a clear overview of how divorce impacts each estate planning document that includes your spouse.

This resource will help you understand:

  • Which documents need updating
  • What changes to consider
  • Potential pitfalls to avoid

Talk to our Estate Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale

Our Plantation, FL law firm focuses on estate planning and serves Fort Lauderdale, Miami-Dade, and West Palm Beach County.

Our estate attorneys in Fort Lauderdale can help update your estate plan to reduce unwanted consequences.

We offer remote, virtual appointments for clients throughout Florida.

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