Ashley Madison & Estate Planning: Establishing or Revising your estate plan after divorce.

Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in estate planning, Legal News |

Ashley Madison & Estate Planning: Establishing or Revising your estate plan after divorce.


The rippling effects of the Ashley Madison data leaks are not only sending men and women to the doghouse, but also to their divorce attorneys.

This entire situation is a grave reminder that marriage is not always eternal, and it is advised that you see an estate planning attorney immediately after the initial divorce consultation.

Why should divorce automatically lead to an estate planning update?

If you don’t update your will, trust and beneficiary designations, your ex can inherit them upon your death.

According to the Florida Bar Journal, under Florida law, a surviving spouse is entitled to their share (maybe 100 percent) of the estate and any interest in nontestamentary transfers (e.g., via joint ownership or beneficiary designation) unless a final decree of divorce has been entered.

If the individual does not have a will or estate plan, and has children from a previous marriage, Florida law provides to the surviving spouse the first $60,000 plus one-half of the balance of the estate. One of just many reasons why it is so essential to meet with an estate planning attorney during this time, including the fact that your soon-to-be-ex-spouse probably shouldn’t be the one to decide when to “pull the plug” and remove you from life support.

When one does meet with an estate plan attorney, it is important to ask them the following questions:

  1. How can I ensure my property will be passed on appropriately?
  2. Who will obtain custody of my children when I am gone?
  3. Have my tax considerations changed now that I am single?
  4. If I remarry, how will that affect my estate plan?
  5. Are there any other documents I need to review or update?

We hope this data leak is a little more helpful than the one Ashley Madison provided.

If you are interested in learning more about estate planning or asset protection, please visit or contact us at 954.944.2855.

Read More

A New School Year; An Old Estate Plan?

Posted by on Aug 20, 2015 in estate planning |


For parents and students, the commencement of a new school year is much like what January 1st is to everyone else: Looking back on the recent life events and choices, while looking forward to the lofty ideals of what lays ahead – a fresh start to the “new” year. In the inception of the new school year, it is time to consider whether you are sporting an old, and less effective, estate plan. Explore your current status, and determine if you are properly prepared for tomorrow.

A lot can happen in a year: children get older, family relationships change, or the size of your estate increases. Let us take a look at possible life events that can warrant a revised estate plan:

Marriage & Divorce: If you have recently married or divorced, it is important to go back through your current estate plan to see whether these life events are addressed in your will or trust documents. First and foremost, marriage does not revoke a will. Divorce, however, may have an effect on the validity of the will. When you fail to amend your will following a divorce, and unless there is a provision within it that states otherwise, the will is treated as if the former spouse died upon divorce (wishful thinking, right?). As an alternative, the divorce or dissolution of marriage judgment can contain such language stating that the provisions in the will regarding the former spouse are valid, notwithstanding the divorce. Therefore, if you no longer want your former spouse to be the beneficiary of any portion of your estate, you need to check the language of your current will. If you get married following the execution of an estate plan, your spouse is entitled to an intestate share (in Florida, this is “per stirpes”) of your estate by statute, unless the new spouse waives the right, or the document itself provides otherwise (intent not to provide for new spouse, or provision providing for spouse in contemplation of marriage). Also, you may have had your former spouse designated as a Power of Attorney, or health-care surrogate. Thus, it is very important to ensure that your estate plan is consistent with your wishes following a divorce or marriage.

Children: if you have a new child following the creation of your estate plan, it is important to ensure that your new bundle of joy is provided for. You may want to set up a trust, a 529-college plan (see “Student Tax Holidays & Savings,” above), alter beneficiary designations in your will, and nominate a legal guardian.

Estate Size Increase: You want to make certain that your estate plans are tailored to your estate size. Therefore, when your estate increases, you may want to make some changes in terms of tax and estate planning. Furthermore, if you have an estate plan that is set up to avoid probate, and acquire new property, you will want to assign that property to your living trust. You may want to consider a variety of estate planning strategies, anywhere from setting up an LLC to protect certain assets from lawsuits, to reducing the size of your estate for tax purposes.

If you have experienced any similar changes since creating an estate plan, it may be time for you to make some changes for this fresh start to the new school year! It’s a Wild world. Are you still protected?

For more information on successful Florida estate planning and asset protection techniques, please contact the South Florida law firm of Wild Felice & Partners, P.A. at 954-944-2855 to schedule your free consultation, or visit our website at

Read More