Planning one's estate is something many people in Florida and across the country may feel is kind of a one and done deal. This simply is not the case. Not updating wills, especially after big life changes, could mean that desired beneficiaries may not receive what is intended.
One life change that may warrant changes to a will is a divorce. The dissolution of marriage affects numerous families nationwide. This event, in and of itself, is challenging for a person to get through with his or her sanity still in check. When all is said and done, what is written in a person's will is something with which he or she is not likely to be immediately concerned.
Why is it so important to change a will soon after divorce? Not doing so could grant an ex or his or her family members the ability to make claims on an estate. A situation like this is actually being reviewed in another jurisdiction. The family of a woman who died just a few years after divorcing her husband has, so far, been unable to provide an updated will from those the decedent signed during her marriage -- which would have left her property to her then husband. The woman's family does not believe the will should still be considered valid, while the ex and his family do believe they have the legal rights to make claims on her estate.
This case has actually been debated for quite some time, and it is unknown as to when a final ruling is expected to be reached. What Florida residents can learn from this, though, is that updating wills and keeping them in easy to find locations can only serve to help desired beneficiaries in the long-run. Legal assistance is available to reviewing and update a will so that any changes deemed necessary after a divorce or any other life event are made clear.
Source: bankrate.com, "Out-of-date will gives ex-in-laws a claim", Jennie L. Phipps, July 29, 2015