Marital termination in South Florida entails major estate planning complications. Spousal support, asset division, and the care and custody of minor children must be effective addressed and properly resolved. Failure to perform comprehensive estate planning after divorce is a common – but devastating – financial error. Following are the main estate plan components that typically require major overhaul in the aftermath of divorce:

Your will

All estate plan modification efforts must begin with this core document. Asset distribution and personal representative designation are the two reasond most likely to mandate revision. Such amendments are easily accomplished by either rewriting its entire contents or preparing a specialized addendum called a “codicil.”

Trust terms

Thoroughly review the terms of any existing Revocable Living Trust (“RLT”). Perform this perfunctory task whether or not an RLT was established while you were married. RLT Trustee and beneficiary designations are easy to alter. Amending the terms of other types of trusts is typically more complicated and usually results in the termination of any concurrent tax advantages. Consult a qualified Florida estate planning attorney for accurate advice and competent assistance with this post-divorce estate planning aspect.

Life Insurance Policies

You will likely desire a beneficiary re-designation in light of your changed domestic situation. Most of the time, this can be done simply by contacting the insurer who issued your policy. If you take this step prior to final entry of a Divorce Decree, be aware that courts commonly consider any accumulated cash value(s) of universal or whole life contracts to be marital assets. Thus, such funds may be subject to subsequent
equitable distribution in any negotiated or court-ordered divorce settlement.

As part of your overall insurance overhaul, look into the availability of alternative benefit payment options. For instance, structured payouts are a relatively recent invention that many insurers now offer. This allows smaller periodic payments for a long period of time to support dependents or facilitate college educations.

Having the foresight to take such a responsible approach also eliminates the risk of immature or imprudent heirs squandering a single lump-sum payment.

In summary

Estate planning after divorce might seem to be an unpleasant, arduous process. Do not make the potentially fatal mistake of letting emotion override practicality, however. Take prompt, proactive measures and visit your South Florida estate planning attorney to ensure the continued effectiveness of your existing estate plan. You cannot afford to leave you and your loved one’s long-term security to chance. Instead, bet on a sure thing with concrete strategies that preserve hard-earned assets.