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Wills in Florida, and Divorce

Does somebody who is divorced inherit under a will? Let’s say you have two people who are married, and there’s a will, and then they’re going to get divorced. If they get a divorce, what happens to that will if it leaves everything to one of the spouses? I can’t tell you how many times the Appellate lawyers and estate litigation attorneys in our law firm here in West Palm Beach get phone calls about people who are involved in a Florida probate with somebody who’s now deceased, who was divorced or getting divorced. The question is always, “does the ex-spouse or the soon to be ex spouse-to-be inherit from the estate?”

That requires an analysis of Florida family law involving divorce rights. It also involves the exploration of inheritance rights of a spouse, or former spouse, under Florida law. The will may or may not be valid to that former spouse depending on when it was signed. Also, what matters is what happened at the divorce procedure. Was there a judgement of divorce? Was there a judgement of property distribution? Or, was there what divorce lawyers call an “MSA,” a Marital Settlement Agreement, that says “You’re now divorced, take this, take that.” Is that contract valid after somebody dies?