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West Palm Beach Probate Litigation: What Does Divorce Have to Do With Probate?

Uncategorized Mar 27, 2019
post about West Palm Beach Probate Litigation: What Does Divorce Have to Do With Probate?

If you are divorced, can you still inherit from your ex-spouse under his or her Florida will? How does divorce affect inheritance rights in Florida?  What if an ex-spouse is a beneficiary named in the decedent’s Orlando will?  Does it matter if my ex-husband wrote his will before we got married rather than during our marriage? What is Florida Statute 732.507? If you are the ex-spouse of a decedent, and you are named in the decedent’s Florida will, you may be out of luck. This is because Florida Statute Section 732.507(2) states the following: “Any provision of a will executed by a married person that affects the spouse of that person shall become void upon the divorce of that person or upon the dissolution or annulment of the marriage. After the dissolution, divorce, or annulment, the will shall be administered and construed as if the former spouse had died at the time of the dissolution, divorce, or annulment of the marriage, unless the will or the dissolution or divorce judgment expressly provides otherwise. ” Therefore, a court may find that you are not entitled to inherit under the will. However, you should consult with a Florida probate lawyer to make sure that you are not wrongly giving up inheritance rights! To interview our probate law firm, free of charge, call (561) 514-0900 Ext. 101. You may also want to check out  a recent Second DCA opinion, Gordon v. Fishman, which discusses one way that an ex-spouse may be able to still inherit. 

Here, the guardian of the decedent’s father petitioned for administration, treating the decedent’s estate as intestate. When an estate is deemed intestate, it means that the decedent did not have a will. However, the ex-wife of the decedent had an original will, written by the decedent prior to her and the decedent getting married, and filed it. She claimed that she was a beneficiary. Under Florida Statute 732.507(2), the trial court found that the decedent’s ex-spouse was not entitled to inherit from the will that she filed. However, on appeal the ex-spouse argued that Section 732.507(2) did not apply because she was not married to the decedent went he executed the will. The appellate court reversed and remanded the trial court’s decision. The appellate court explained that section 732.507(2) applies only when the marriage predates the will.  To read the entire opinion, click here.