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Why Estate Planning Documents Should Be Updated During a Florida Divorce

How to revise these critical documents during your divorce.

Ordinarily, a married couple’s estate plan often treats spouses as beneficiaries and allows them to make healthcare decisions for an incapacitated spouse. Naturally, when a divorce comes into the picture, these documents must be updated to account for the impending marital separation. Here are three reasons why you need to update your estate plan during a Florida divorce.

Beneficiary Designations

As a general rule in divorce, spouses should be entitled to their fair share of marital property, but it is unlikely that a spouse would want to pay their soon-to-be ex-spouse any more than that. Without updating beneficiary designations, a former spouse could end up receiving your assets if you pass away before updating the designation.

If your former spouse is listed on a beneficiary designation, it is in your best interests to change this with the help of a Florida lawyer as soon as possible.


If a former spouse dies at the time of divorce, Florida law allows a will to be administrated. In other words, a divorce effectively removes an ex from the will under Florida law.

However, while the ex will not receive assets as the will had stated, you still are not free to do what you wish with the assets. If the will does not specifically state who is to receive the assets if the spouse is not a beneficiary, then the court may treat the matter as if there is no will at all. For this reason, updating your will is a prudent decision that gives you the authority over who receives your assets.

Healthcare Directives

If your spouse was listed as a surrogate or was granted decision-making authority in the event of your incapacity, you will need to update your healthcare directives with the help of a Florida lawyer. Florida law would not allow a former spouse to make those decisions if you do not update your healthcare directive, but you will want an alternative surrogate chosen anyway. End of life decisions and similar healthcare choices are too important to ignore.

A Florida family law attorney who is familiar with the nuances of divorce estate planning will help you navigate these complexities to ensure you effectively transition into a comprehensive post-divorce estate plan.

If you have questions regarding your divorce, or are unaware as to the terms and conditions in, talk to, and retain, a family law attorney who can help. Contact Damien McKinney of The McKinney Law Group to discuss your case further. He can be reached by phone at 813-428-3400 or by e-mail at [email protected]