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A divorcing couple who needs to consider how their estate planning after a divorce needs a review

Divorce is an undeniably significant life event, marking not just the end of a marriage but also the beginning of a new phase in one’s life.  Jacksonville residents either going through a divorce or who have recently finalized one may likely be overwhelmed by the emotional and financial upheaval it causes.  However, many people do not realize the significance of divorce on estate planning.  This article shares crucial aspects of revising your estate plan after a divorce, ensuring that your assets and loved ones are protected according to your current wishes and circumstances.

How Does Divorce Affect Your Estate Plan?

The dissolution of marriage brings about profound changes in one’s financial landscape. Assets once shared are divided, and individual financial situations are significantly altered. This shift necessitates a comprehensive review of existing estate planning documents, such as wills, trusts, and other relevant legal instruments. The goal is to ensure these documents accurately mirror your updated financial situation and align with your revised wishes. Read more in our article, Reviewing & Updating Your Estate Plan. Does Your Plan Come With A Client Care Program?

In his video, Jacksonville Estate Planning Attorney Bill O’Leary explains how divorce can change your estate plan. When you get divorced, updating your estate plan is imperative, as your ex-spouse may still be entitled to certain benefits. Your estate, which includes all assets owned, might still be accessible to your ex-spouse unless changes are made. Revising your estate plan ensures that your assets are distributed according to your updated preferences.

Updating Your Beneficiary Designations

One of the most immediate and crucial actions post-divorce involves reassessing beneficiary designations. Frequently, spouses designate each other as beneficiaries on essential financial accounts, including retirement plans, life insurance policies, and even bank accounts.  Yet, beneficiary designations are often overlooked during estate planning after divorce. It’s crucial to revise these as your ex-spouse might still be listed as a beneficiary on life insurance policies, retirement accounts and other financial instruments. Updating these designations is a simple yet essential step in ensuring that your estate is distributed according to your current wishes.

Revoking Your Power of Attorney and Updating Healthcare Directives

Another critical area requiring attention post-divorce is the designation of powers of attorney and Florida health care directives. These legal documents empower designated individuals to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. If your former spouse is listed in these roles, they may be able to make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf.  Revoking your power of attorney and updating healthcare directives are critical steps post-divorce.  It’s advisable to appoint someone you trust to handle these matters, ensuring that your affairs are managed according to your current preferences.

Is It Necessary to Update Your Will or Trust?

Absolutely. Updating your will or trust is essential after a divorce in Florida. Your ex-spouse may still be named as the executor, trustee, or beneficiary. By revising your will or trust, you can ensure that your estate is administered by someone you trust and that your assets are distributed according to your latest intentions while minimizing potential tax liabilities.

How to Handle Guardianship Designations?

Divorce introduces unique considerations for parents of minor children, particularly concerning guardianship and financial provisions for their care.  If you have minor children, your estate plan probably includes guardianship designations. Post-divorce, reassess these choices. You might want to name someone other than your ex-spouse as the guardian, ensuring that your children’s care aligns with your current wishes.

What Happens If You Don’t Update Your Estate Plan?

Failing to update your estate plan post-divorce can have unintended consequences. Your ex-spouse might still inherit your assets, make decisions on your behalf, or even handle your financial affairs. Revising your estate plan to reflect your current circumstances and ensuring that your wishes are honored is crucial.

When Should You Start Updating Your Estate Plan?

Proactively updating your estate plan can prevent significant gaps in your arrangements and avoid unintended outcomes. Don’t wait until the divorce is finalized. Start updating your estate plan as soon as the divorce is pending. Florida residents anticipating a divorce can schedule a call with Team Legacy to gain valuable guidance through this process, ensuring your estate plan accurately reflects your new beginning.  This proactive approach ensures that your interests are protected throughout the divorce process.


Divorce significantly affects your estate plan, and it’s crucial to take timely action to revise it. If you’re going through a divorce or have recently finalized one, contact Legacy Planning Law Group to discuss how we can help ensure you secure your financial legacy and the well-being of your loved ones.

Key Points to Remember

  • Revise Beneficiary Designations: Ensure that your ex-spouse is not the unintended beneficiary of your assets.
  • Update Power of Attorney and Trusts: Appoint someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf and manage your trust.
  • Revise Your Will or Trust: Reflect your current wishes for asset distribution and executor or trustee appointments.
  • Consider Guardianship for Minor Children: Choose a guardian aligning with your current preferences.
  • Understand Legal Implications: Be aware of how state law and divorce decrees impact your estate plan.
  • Begin Updates Early: Revise your estate plan as soon as divorce proceedings begin.
  • Seek Professional Guidance: Consult an estate planning attorney to navigate these changes effectively.

Remember, updating your estate plan post-divorce is not just a legal necessity; ensuring that your assets and loved ones are protected according to your current wishes is crucial. Don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance to navigate this complex process.

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