There are plenty of worries when considering a divorce at any age. But older couples can have considerable assets to divide and those assets can be even more tricky to fairly distribute for spouses seeking divorce later in life.
Florida seniors may have drawn up wills and trusts to ensure their assets go to the right friends and family upon their deaths. However, divorce can cancel out wills and people can lose the ability to direct where their possessions and savings end up. It’s critical to speak with a Tampa Senior Divorce Lawyer about how to handle wills and trusts through divorce proceedings and once a divorce agreement is final.
Seeking Tampa Senior Divorce Help and Assistance with Wills and Trusts
Roberts Sparks Attorneys fight to ease the fears of anyone going through a divorce. First, our Tampa Senior Divorce Lawyers help clients safeguard the valuables and assets they’ve worked over a lifetime to obtain.
Then our Tampa Estate Planning, Wills, And Trusts Lawyers work to completely protect those assets you are allowed to keep. We plan for every possibility so that the possessions that matter most to you end up in the hands of those that matter most to you.
What Are a Will and Trust?
Wills are documents that instruct what should happen to your assets after your death. Your possessions go to your beneficiaries and heirs. Wills can decide how debt or taxes will be paid. They can name guardians for children or property. They can also provide for any pets left behind.
Leaving instructions about what happens to your possessions after death becomes complicated after a senior divorce. If your ex-spouse was the only one on your will, you may desire to find new beneficiaries. Your wishes could drastically change if you remarry as a senior and become a part of a blended family. You may have new heirs you want to include in your will.
A trust is a legal arrangement that grants a trustee you choose the power to divide up your estate. This can take effect even before you die. The advantage is that the trustee is in charge of your possessions and a probate court won’t have a say in where your possessions end up.
A Tampa Estate Planning Lawyer can help you decide what option is best for you and quickly get a new will or trust drawn up so that your assets remain protected.
Senior Divorce and Wills and Trusts
Estate planning is just one more important step couples in their golden years who are going through divorce negotiations will have to consider. Both partners may have had time to build up assets, property, and retirement savings over the decades. These additional assets can make the division of a couple’s earnings complicated. For those same reasons, taking care of your estate planning could also prove complex.
If you don’t take care to keep your estate planning needs current, your will may end up unenforceable and it may no longer represent your wishes.
Both sides in a divorce will need to change their wills, perhaps several times before and after the divorce. First, partners should update their wills as they enter into divorce proceedings. Second, they must also go over their wills again right after a divorce is finalized and it has been decided who will keep what.
Third, ex-spouses will then have to redo their wills again if they enter into a new marriage. These are important steps to make sure the people you intend to receive a portion of your estate actually receive it.
Will Protection for Divorcees Under Florida Law
Those coming out of difficult divorce negotiations can easily forget to change their will to reflect their new situation and state of mind. Fortunately, Florida laws regarding wills and trusts after divorce do offer some protection to spouses who neglect to draw up a new estate plan before they pass on.
Their ex-spouses’ names may still be on a will, but that doesn’t mean their exes will receive the assets earmarked for a husband or wife. Section 732.507, Florida Statutes states that even if a spouse is still named in a will, a divorce nullifies, in most cases, the ex-spouse’s right to receive whatever the will bestows on the ex. The same protection generally exists when a trust names an ex-spouse as a beneficiary.
There are some exceptions to this statute laid out by the Florida Legislature:
“ (b) This subsection does not invalidate a provision of a will:
1. Executed by the testator after the dissolution of the marriage;
2. If there is a specific intention to the contrary stated in the will; or
3. If the dissolution of marriage judgment expressly provides otherwise.
(3) This section applies to wills of decedents who die on or after June 29, 2021.”
These important exceptions basically mean that the protections aren’t valid if a divorce agreement specifically states that an ex-wife or ex-husband will still receive something in a will. A judge’s decision during divorce proceedings would also be enough to keep an ex-spouse in someone’s will.
Divorce is complicated enough. Divorce between two retired people who share a lot of property, assets, or even a business is even more complicated. And the concerns over estate planning after a divorce only add to the thorny issue of asset allocation.
It’s important to have an experienced legal representative at your side throughout a divorce and during any estate planning. It’s the one sure way of securing fair treatment and the best terms for the outcome of your divorce and your will.
Speak with an Experienced Tampa Senior Divorce Lawyer and Estate Planning Lawyer
Going through a divorce can be one of the most stressful events of your life. It’s especially difficult when a long-term marriage comes to an end. Above the emotional investment involved, couples can have extended assets to divide up and then difficult choices about how to leave their new assets to their loved ones in a will or trust.
It’s important to know that you don’t have to face divorce and estate planning alone. With decades of collective experience, our Tampa divorce lawyers at Robert Sparks Attorneys have the knowledge of Florida divorce law you’ll need to fight for the best possible outcome in your divorce. Our lawyers also stand ready to quickly get your assets protected with a will or trust once your divorce is official.
Learn more about what we can do to help you by contacting us and scheduling a free senior divorce consultation today. We protect those going through divorce in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Dade City, and the surrounding areas.