Laurie Ohall is a Florida board-certified elder law attorney practicing in Brandon. She has been practicing law for 30 years, and her practice is focused on estate planning, elder law planning and probate. Ohall is licensed to practice law in Florida and Ohio.

By Laurie E. Ohall, Florida Board-certified Elder Law Attorney

After divorce, the last thing anyone wants is to find themselves back in a lawyer’s office. However, there’s a common misconception that the divorce decree resolves all estate planning issues. Sadly, this leaves gaps that could cause chaos for your heirs should something happen to you. Protect yourself and your loved ones by taking proactive steps.

Why Your Divorce Isn’t a Substitute for Estate Planning Updates

While your divorce handles asset division and may address spousal support, it often doesn’t go far enough regarding the following:

  • Beneficiary Changes: Many of your accounts, insurance policies and perhaps even old wills may remain with your ex-spouse as the designated beneficiary. While Florida has laws that terminate an ex-spouse’s rights, failing to update these can lead to unintended consequences and conflicts down the line.
  • Health Care Directives and Powers of Attorney: Divorce removes your ex’s powers as a decision-maker in case of your incapacity. However, updating your documents and appointing new people ensures someone you trust has authority to act.
  • New Will or Trust Structures: If you have children (especially minors), creating or updating wills and trusts is crucial. Ensuring clear guardianship provisions and inheritance structures avoids court battles over your affairs.

What if I Want My Ex-spouse To Have My Life Insurance or Retirement Account?

In most cases, a divorce in Florida terminates the ex-spouse’s designation as beneficiary. If you want your ex-spouse to have a life insurance policy or retirement accounts, you must update those beneficiary designations after a divorce. And, if you still want them to have decision-making responsibilities, you will most definitely need to update your estate planning documents (because the ex-spouse will not have any rights under your estate planning documents after you are divorced).

Meeting with a Brandon Estate Planning Lawyer Provides Solutions

If you have recently gone through a divorce, make sure to check in with a local estate planning lawyer, even just for your own peace of mind. We are here to help review your old documents and help you create a plan that better aligns with this new stage of your life, including:

  • Complete beneficiary reviews and updates across all retirement, investment and insurance accounts.
  • Crafting new wills or trust documents that reflect your desired asset distribution, ensuring children’s interests are protected.
  • Establishing necessary healthcare proxy documents with current names, avoiding your ex making medical decisions for you.

Your Post-divorce Reset

No matter how amicable the separation, divorce puts your future into your own hands again. Seeking guidance with our Brandon estate planning lawyers is an act of self-care, providing protection for yourself and the people you love. If you have questions or you are ready to take the next step, please feel free to reach out to us, the Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A., to schedule an appointment. Simply call 813-438-8503 to get started.

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