Certain events in our lives often trigger an estate plan review. For example, if you get married or divorced, it is very likely you will want to change your Will and other estate planning documents. But what happens if you just find yourself estranged from your spouse? Can you change your estate plan to disinherit your husband or wife? You certainly can try, but don’t forget the Florida elective share. This law may have a profound effect on your estate planning and the probate of both your estate and your spouse’s estate.
Under state law, the surviving spouse of a deceased individual may exercise certain rights over the decedent’s estate. In fact, Florida law states that the surviving spouse of someone who lived in Florida at the time of death may be entitled to 30% of their deceased spouse’s elective estate. This can happen despite what is stated in the deceased spouse’s estate planning documents.
During probate, a personal representative administers a deceased person’s probate estate, which is that person’s property that needs to pass through probate. Some assets do not become part of the probate estate. However, those assets may become part of the elective estate.
When developing your estate plan, many couples leave most of their assets to each other. At times, one spouse may want to prevent the other spouse from receiving anything. The Florida elective share may prevent this particular estate planning goal from coming to fruition:
A surviving spouse may elect to take their elective share of an estate, but are not required to do so. When considering the Florida elective share while probating a deceased spouse’s estate, remember:
John Mangan is an experienced Florida estate planning attorney who has been board certified in Wills, Trusts & Estates by the Florida Bar. At Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A., we help clients develop an estate plan that’s appropriate for their circumstances. Call us at 772-324-9050 to set up an appointment or use our Contact form. With our office located in Palm City, we also assist clients in surrounding communities like Stuart, Hobe Sound, Jupiter, and Port St. Lucie.