Should you redo you will after you get divorced?


Under Florida law, your spouse is automatically removed from your will after you get divorced.  However, it would still be wise to redo your estate planning documents.


Jamie: Hey, guys. I got a question about a will. I'm divorced about nine years ago. I had a will when I was married off of the big one off the internet. Obviously, I don't want that will to be, I guess, live or whatever. If I get a divorce, does that make that will void or do I need to adjust that, or what do I need here?

Attorney Tom Olsen: Jamie, you have an old will when you were married that says, "I leave everything to my wife." Jamie, when you got divorced from her, the law says that she is automatically out of your will, it is though she has died before you.

Jamie: Great.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Your will says, "I leave everything to my wife, but if my wife happens to die before me, I leave it all to my kids." Well, now that you're divorced, we skip her, we go straight to your kids. Does that make sense to you?

Jamie: Well, I don't have any kids, so that will's void now. Great, appreciate that.

Attorney Tom Olsen: No, no. No, no, no, no. No, the will is not void. The language in there, leaving it to your ex-wife is out, everything else within that will is still there. Jamie, does that make sense?

Jamie: Yes.

Attorney Tom Olsen: If we looked at your will, you should have a contingent beneficiary under that will. There aren't any?

Jamie: Okay, I understand what you're talking about.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Jamie, that's one or two-- so that gives you a comfort level, Jamie, but all in all, you've gotten divorced, now, I think you should redo your documents. Remember, when you do your will, you do some other related documents. That's what we do, at least. We do a living will, where you ask that you not be kept alive by machines, a healthcare surrogate, or you are appointing somebody to decide what doctors, what hospitals, what medications and a financial power of attorney. All of those documents, Jamie, you probably named your ex-wife. All of those would be good reasons for you to get your will's documents updated. Jamie, we'd love to assist you with that. If you want us to, just give us a call at our office next week at 407-423-5561.

Chrissy: In addition, I want to point out this also to Jamie, because this happens a lot, we get these calls. In your situation as well, you want to make sure that if you had named your wife as the beneficiary to, for example, a 401k at work or any life insurance, that you need to make a change on those because those will not automatically change, like the will. Those will not automatically change, that if you were to pass away and any of those had a POD, it would go to your ex-wife.