I was recently talking with a colleague who is a divorce attorney about how important it is to update a Florida living trust in the event of divorce. This got me thinking about life changes and how they necessitate Florida living trust changes, and other updates to your Florida estate plan. So, you need to know when it may be necessary to make necessary Florida living trust changes or other updates to your estate planning in Florida.
In fact, there are 3 common types of “life changes” that will require immediate updates to your estate plan AND specifically that your revocable living trusts in Florida will need to be updated.
3 Life Changes that Usually Require Changing Your Florida Living Trust
1. Divorce Requires Major Changes to Your Florida Living Trust
This one is kind of a no-brainer and yet it is important to point out that a revocable living trust is essentially rendered void in divorce and must be, generally speaking, terminated. In this event a new revocable living trust is generally advisable due to substantial changes in the estate plan. Specifically, the updated plan must reflect changes in the estate assets due to the divorce as well as changes in the distributions upon death. Also, a change in fiduciaries is often necessary due to the former spouse’s role in the estate. Where multiple marriages have existed, the change may necessitate removal of the former spouse’s beneficiaries.
2. Death or Disability of One Spouse May Require Major Changes to Your Florida Living Trust
Often times a spouse’s or other loved one’s disability or passing will necessitate the need to review the current trust and either amend or restate the former revocable living trust so as to add a Florida special needs trust. The reasons for the change may be to add an additional successor trustee due to the inability to serve as successor trustee or to accommodate a change in distributions upon the surviving spouse’s death. Often distributions that have been made due to the first spouse’s death so future distributions would not include those same beneficiaries.
3. Birth or Adoption of Children or Other Dependents
Where the old trust makes reference to one child and now new family member’s are adding to the Florida estate plan, the documents should generally be updated to reflect this change. This would be the case in both natural birth and adoption. Similarly, if there is a new adult dependent who merits consideration in the plan, for example an adult dependent parent, the revocable trust may need to be updated.
There are many possibilities and usually changing your living trust also requires changing other outdated Florida estate planning documents (a/k/a “ancillary” documents) such as Florida powers of attorney and Florida advance medical directives for similar reasons.
Suffice to say, life changes of any nature often necessitate updates to your estate plan and it is advisable to explore what is needed at each pivotal stage of life to make sure everyone is taken care off. Of course all of these changes should be reviewed and discussed in detail with a competent professional and do it yourself changes often only create more confusion.
This article is updated from original posted September 4, 2014.