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Proper Estate Planning Is Not Just For Celebrities

Over the past week, the news outlets have been abuzz with the story of Kim Kardashian and her 72 days of marital bliss, now a distant memory.  As the trendy couple prepares to untie the knot, we are once again reminded of the necessity of proper estate planning.

Marriage, whether for a day or for a lifetime, is a significant life event that often encourages attention to important matters such as estate planning.  For many newlywed couples, the act of getting married can spur a flurry of “mature” activities, such as buying a house, obtaining steady employment, and finally scheduling that consultation with a Florida estate planning attorney.  Marriage is recognized as a serious commitment in our society, and every day couples illustrate this seriousness by taking these, and other steps, necessary to give themselves the highest possible quality of life.

More overlooked, but just as serious, is the event of divorce.  According to the CDC, the U.S. national divorce rate is approximately 50%, or one divorce for every two marriages.  Just as it is necessary to engage in estate planning after a marriage, it is necessary to do so when one is beginning to unwind.

The reasons may seem obvious, not many of us want our estranged spouses making our medical decisions or inheriting everything under our wills, however the overall neglect toward updating estate planning following a divorce continues to persist.  The Florida Statutes do provide some relief, §732.507 will void a provision of a will that benefits an ex-spouse and § 736.1105 provides similar treatment for revocable living trusts, but reliance on these provisions is not a substitute for consulting with a Florida estate planning attorney.  For example, the statutes mentioned above apply only once there is a judicial entry of dissolution of marriage or a decree of annulment.  This means that if the provisions of the will or trust comes into effect before the divorce is finalized, then these statutes may not provide any relief and the soon-to-be-ex spouse could inherit from the estate.  Furthermore, these statutes will not adjust a beneficiary designation on a retirement account or life insurance policy, nor remove the ex-spouse as a designated health care surrogate.

Consultation with an estate planning professional is just as important at the end of a marriage as it is in the beginning.  If you are faced with a significant life event, such as marriage or divorce, and would like some help starting or modifying your estate plan, contact an Attorney in Jacksonville who can assist you today.