Tampa Wills | Tampa Trusts | Powers of Attorney | Declaration of Guardianship

If you need help changing your will, trust, and powers of attorney after divorce, call an estate planning attorney today.

Wills and Trusts

Suppose you divorce a spouse or break up with a partner whom you previously named in a will or trust to receive property or assets upon your death. What happens if you die before you change the documents? The answer depends on the laws in your state. In some states divorce automatically disinherits a spouse named in your will and the persons who would inherit from you through that spouse. However, divorce may not have the same legal effect to disqualify a spouse you named as a trustee or beneficiary of a trust.

Partners are treated differently than spouses, so laws that apply to spouses on divorce will not apply equally to a break up with a partner. Talk with a respected Tampa estate planning lawyer to find out what would happen in your state.

Make a New Estate Plan After Divorce in Tampa

Making a new estate plan after the end of a marriage or relationship is an important detail you do not want to forget. Leaving your estate to a former spouse or partner after break up will create tremendous problems for your family after you are gone. You can make an estate plan where you leave money or assets to your children upon your death that cannot be controlled by a former spouse (or the former spouse’s new spouse). There are specific rules in your state you must follow to withdraw a previous will or trust and to make new ones valid and enforceable. Do not try to make handwritten changes to your current documents or try to draft them yourself! Make it a priority to contact a trained Tampa estate planning lawyer to help you do it right so you do not leave an expensive legal mess for your family after your death.

Powers of Attorney and HIPAA Release

A power of attorney for health care is a written document that gives a health care agent or health care proxy the right to make decisions about medical care and treatment if you cannot do so yourself. A HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) release specifies to whom your doctors may speak about your medical condition.

A durable (statutory or general) power of attorney allows someone to manage your financial affairs including paying your bills, and withdrawing money from investments and accounts. Partners usually name each other, and married people usually name their spouses in powers of attorney and HIPAA releases.

If you do not want your ex-spouse or former partner to continue to act as your agent or for doctors to inform them of your medical condition, then you will need to change these documents. Collect the old documents, shred or otherwise destroy them, and tell anyone with whom the agent has done business under your power of attorney that he or she is no longer your agent. Powers of attorney are only effective so long as you are alive. When you die, the provisions of your will kick in for how your debts are to be paid and assets are to be distributed. It is especially important to see an experienced Tampa estate planning attorney to help you name in a will or trust the person you want to handle this when you no longer have a spouse or partner.

Guardianship Declarations

A guardianship declaration allows you to name a person whom you want physically to care for you if you should ever become unable to care for yourself. If your guardianship declaration names your former spouse or partner, you may want to change that upon divorce or break up.  See an experienced Tampa estate planning attorney to learn what the guardianship declaration needs to say.

Medical Directives

A medical directive (or living will) allows you to communicate your wishes for life-extending medical care if you are terminally ill or in a persistent vegetative state and cannot speak for yourself. You are not required to change your living will when you divorce or end a partnership, and changes are not usually necessary because the document typically does not contain any designation of a person to make end of life decisions for you (but some states are different so check your own to see if a spouse or partner has been named). If you have a living will and you gave it to your former spouse or partner to hold in case it were ever needed, you may wish to get it back and give it to a close friend or family member for safekeeping.

Life Insurance to Protect Child Support and Alimony Obligations

Another reason to see a dedicated Tampa family estate planning attorney is to learn more about whether it makes sense in your situation to make an agreement with your spouse as part of the divorce settlement to keep in place a life insurance policy to insure the continued payment of child support and alimony after an ex-spouse's death.

Money Management, Financial Planning, and Retirement Advisors

After a divorce, you may need or want assistance to manage and invest your funds. Meeting with a retirement planner can help ensure you have something to pass on to your family.

Frisch Financial Group, Inc.
2202 N. West Shore Boulevard Suite 200
Tampa, FL 33607
(813) 639-7580
FirsTrust, LLC
3111 West M. L. King, Jr. Boulevard Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33607
(813) 874-7200
Holly P. Thomas, LLC
1901 West Cass Street
Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 781-8040
StanCorp Investment Advisers, Inc.
330 W. Bearss Avenue
Tampa, FL 33613
Rehl Financial Advisors
2225 Camp Indianhead Road
Land O'Lakes, FL 34639
(813) 949-0026
Lawrence Financial Planning, LLC
5308 Van Dyke Road
Lutz, FL 33558
(813) 961-4930
Financial Guidance Group, Inc
788 Samantha Drive
Palm Harbor, FL 34683
(727) 787-7526
Lebrigh Life Planners, LLC
804 Charles Bouleavard
Oldsmar, FL 34677
(813) 891-9599
DeVane Financial Advisors
P.O. Box 16626
Tampa, FL 33687
Raymond James & Associates Inc.
100 North Tampa Street Suite 2400
Tampa, FL 33602


Contact a Qualified Tampa Wills, Trusts & Estate Family Attorney

Serving clients throughout Western Florida, including Bloomingdale, Brandon, Clearwater, Dunedin, Egypt Lake-Leto, Feather Sound, Gibsonton, Largo, Lealman, Oldsmar, Palm Harbor, Palm River, Pinellas Park, Riverdale, Safety Harbor, St. George, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Temple Terrace, Town ‘N’ Country, Westchase, areas in the vicinity of MacDill AFB, Tampa International Airport, and other communities in Hillsborough County.