For anyone in Florida considering ending their marriage, you should know that there are a host of estate planning issues to consider before and after your divorce. Because marriage and family relationships are so closely intertwined with so many estate planning issues, any significant change to your family or marital status requires you to update your estate plan. Updating your plan either before or after your divorce is essential if you want to make sure your plan protects you to the best of its abilities.
Estate Planning Issues to Consider Before and After Your Divorce: Prior to Filing Many people, prior to filing for divorce, experience a change in estate planning desires in relation to their spouses. For example, if you are considering filing for divorce and have lost faith in your partner to protect your interests, you may want to change any estate planning devices that name your spouse as the decision-makers in the event you become incapacitated. You are under no legal obligation to choose your spouse as a representative when you create an incapacity plan, and should you lose faith in your spouse’s ability to protect your interests, making changes to your plan even prior to filing for divorce is often a good idea.
Estate Planning Issues to Consider Before and After Your Divorce: After Filing
After you have filed for divorce you will want to make sure that you and your attorney keeps estate planning issues in mind as you go through the divorce process. While the rights that you and your spouse have will not be terminated until the divorce is finalized, there are choices you can make during the divorce process that will protect your interests. For example, updating health care directives and powers of attorney is often advisable. Further, it’s also common for divorce court judges to issue orders that limit what actions each spouse can take during the divorce process; so you may need to consult with an attorney to see if there any limitations on what you can or cannot do with your individual estate planning tools.
Estate Planning Issues to Consider Before and After Your Divorce: After the Divorce Decree
Once a court has finalized your divorce you need to take the time to update your plan accordingly. Inheritance planning, incapacity planning, and any other part of your estate plan that involves your spouse will need to be changed to reflect your new status as a single person.
Beyond that, you need to be aware of your estate planning choices if and when you decide to enter into a new romantic relationship. In particular, it’s important to note that any relationship you enter into will not necessarily affect your estate planning options unless you decide to get remarried. Until that happens, you are under no obligation to, for example, alter your inheritance plans to include your new romantic partner, or give your partner any right to make decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated.