Do I Lose The Right To My Spouse’s Inheritance If We Divorce?
Administering someone’s estate after they die can be a complex task, particularly when major life changes have occurred since the will was written. This comes up most often in the context of a divorce. If someone prepared their will before or during their marriage and left assets to their now ex-spouse, will their ex-spouse still be legally entitled to them? That answer depends on a number of factors that we will consider in this article. Of course, every case is different, and the specific facts and circumstances are highly critical in cases like this. Even courts can reach different conclusions on the basis of seemingly small issues. For this reason, the best way to get an accurate understanding of your inheritance rights is to talk to a Florida trusts and estates attorney.
The General Rule When it Comes to Inheriting from Your Ex-Spouse in Florida
If you had filed for divorce at the time of your spouse’s death but the proceedings had not concluded nor had the divorce been finalized, you will likely still be entitled to inherit under your spouse’s will, as you are still their legal spouse. If the divorce was finalized and you were legally divorced at the time of their death, then there is a good chance that you will be unlikely to inherit. Under Florida law, all provisions made in a will to one’s spouse are treated as void at the time of a divorce. The statute states that for all intents and purposes the ex-spouse should be treated as dead at the time of the divorce for the purposes of distributing assets under the will. However, some exceptions may apply.
Exceptions to the General Rule That You Cannot Inherit From Your Ex-Spouse
No rule is without exceptions, and this one is no different. First, it’s important to look at when the will was created. The statute only applies to wills that were created during the course of the marriage. If your ex-spouse’s will was created before you entered your marriage and named you as a beneficiary the statute does not apply and you can likely still inherit what they left to you, provided they have not updated their will since before you were married. Additionally, if it was explicitly stated in a prenuptial, postnuptial, or divorce agreement that the divorce would not affect your right to inherit, then this trumps the state statute and you may still inherit whatever your ex-spouse left to you.
Schedule a Consultation with the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray
As you can see, these situations are very complicated and are highly situation-specific. If you are going through a divorce, it can be a good time to learn how this may affect your ability to leave or receive inheritance to your ex-spouse and plan accordingly. Additionally, if your ex- or soon-to-be-ex-spouse has recently passed away and you are concerned about how this could impact your inheritance rights, it’s important to talk to an attorney. Schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray today and get the West Palm Beach estate planning and probate guidance and information that you need to receive what you are entitled to.