Keep Your Estate Plan Up to Date – Especially During Divorce

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Keeping your estate plan up to date with your current life events is always important, but it becomes even more important when going through a divorce. As with any major event, your estate plan won’t be as effective as you’d like if it doesn’t accurately reflect your current circumstances. Failing to update your estate plan leaves you open to potential issues should you need to use it during your divorce, such as a power of attorney document which grants financial responsibilities to your soon-to-be ex-spouse or a healthcare surrogate document should you become ill.

Steps to Update Your Plan During a Divorce

Updating your Will is likely the most important step for most divorcees. In most cases, spouses name each other the executors of their Wills, which isn’t favorable after a divorce. Take this time to name a new executor to your Will who is trustworthy and dependable. This person doesn’t have to be a family member – instead, you should focus on someone you know can responsibly follow the guidelines your Will provides.

If you didn’t already have a Will, now is a great time to start one. In Florida, intestate property (its inheritance is not determined by a Will) follows a standard procedure for inheritance, which includes some property being automatically transferred to your spouse in most cases. With a Will or Trust, you’re able to specify where that property ought to be distributed, instead of your ex-spouse. Keep in mind that you are not officially divorced until the judge signs the divorce decree, so unless your estate plan specifies otherwise, your spouse will still automatically receive some intestate property until your divorce is official.

Take another look at your power of attorney documents as well. Even after a divorce, if your ex-spouse is named in your medical or financial power of attorney, they’ll still be your agent. Ensure that the person you choose to receive power of attorney isn’t your ex-spouse and that they’re willing to do the job if it becomes necessary.

Review any existing trusts to ensure that their distributions accurately reflect your wishes, and make any changes as necessary. Trusts may also be used to ensure distributions are given directly to your children, or to another trustee who can manage the funds for them, instead of your ex-spouse.

If you’re feeling lost in your divorce, we’re here to help. Divorce & Mediation Law Firm specializes in every aspect of divorce law and can assist with any issues you may face. To learn more about our services, click here or call us today at (954)-807-2962.

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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

Divorce & Mediation Law Firm | Cabanas Law Firm
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Pembroke Pines, FL 33029
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Sergio Cabanas, Esq. | Family Law Attorney | Cabanas Law Firm

Sergio Cabanas, Esq. founded the Cabanas Law Firm in 2006 and provides Divorce and Family legal services, as well as Estate Planning, to ensure his clients have planned for their newly single life and are protected after their divorce. He began his career in law in 1992 as a prosecuting attorney at the Broward County State Attorney’s Office, then continued his litigation track as an insurance defense attorney defending medical professionals against medical malpractice claims and expanded into disability and life insurance claims. Sergio is a Certified Mediator registered in the Supreme Court of Florida and a frequent speaker in the community about the importance of Estate Planning to keep families out of probate court and to prepare essential instructions in the event of disability or incapacity.