What You Need to Know About Estate Planning and Florida Divorces
Going through a divorce is always hectic, and sometimes important issues can get overlooked. Do not let estate planning become one of those issues. Proper estate planning is always critical. If you have any questions about how your divorce will affect estate planning, or Florida divorce in general, contact an Orlando divorce attorney for legal advice.
Update Your Existing Estate Planning Documents
Your divorce will undoubtedly change your estate planning interests. The majority of Florida couples include each other on all of their important estate planning documents. It makes perfect sense to give your spouse legal responsibility for protecting your interests in the event you become incapacitated. But, for most people it likely no longer makes sense after a divorce. You should start by asking yourself the following questions:
- Does your spouse have your power of attorney?
- Does your spouse have any medical decision making power over you?
- Is your spouse on your will?
- Is your spouse a beneficiary on any of your retirement accounts?
Many people wish to untangle their estate plan from their spouse during a divorce. Of course, that is not always the case. For example, some people go through a divorce and still wish to keep their former spouse as a beneficiary to certain assets. The important thing is that you review all of your active estate planning documents with your divorce attorney and ensure that they are updated to best suit your current situation.
What About Children?
If you have children under the age of eighteen, updating your estate plan is particularly important. There are three major child related estate planning issues to consider during a Florida divorce. They are:
- Guardianship: There are two, highly unfortunate possibilities that require proper planning. First, what happens to your children if both you and your spouse pass away? Second, what happens to your children if only you pass away? In the second scenario, you will probably want your family to retain visitation rights. In fact, in some cases you may want your family, possibly the child’s grandparents, to get custody of the child. All wishes should be planned for during the divorce so you have peace of mind knowing what will happen to your children in any possible situation.
- Inheritance: You child can inherit your assets in a number of different ways. It may be best to use a will or a living trust. It is important to consider how your child will take possession of your assets to make the process as smooth as possible.
- Control of assets: If you pass away, and you leave your assets to your child, another party will need to control those assets until your child turns eighteen. You may want your former spouse to have control of the assets, or you may want to prevent your former spouse from controlling your child’s assets. It depends entirely on your individual circumstances. But your minor child’s inheritance will be controlled by another party until adulthood. You need someone who can be trusted.
Contact An Experienced Orlando Divorce Attorney
At the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee we help our clients through all aspects of a divorce. If you are going through a divorce in Florida, please contact our Orlando office today at (407) 521-7171 to learn more about protecting your legal rights.