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Making a Will without Divorcing in Florida...problems?

Making a Will without Divorcing in Florida...problems?

Old Nov 17th 2017, 11:13 am
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Default Making a Will without Divorcing in Florida...problems?

I'm a dual citizen living here in the US for the past 15 years. I own my home with a very small mortgage all in my name. Haven't had any contact in years with my wife who returned to the UK. As i'm almost 'senior age' i'm needing to arrange a will to divide up my small estate between relatives mostly back in the UK. Should i/could i do this without going through the costs of a divorce and the fact i have no contact or address with her.
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Old Nov 17th 2017, 12:47 pm
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Default Re: Making a Will without Divorcing in Florida...problems?

If you die and as long as you're still married, your spouse, no matter how far away she might be, is still your surviving spouse.

I would get in touch with an estate planning and divorce lawyer. You're in a sticky situation. Even if you go with a divorce you may find that you will need to give her 50% of your assets anyway!
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Old Nov 17th 2017, 2:11 pm
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Default Re: Making a Will without Divorcing in Florida...problems?

Originally Posted by Floridablues View Post
I'm a dual citizen living here in the US for the past 15 years. I own my home with a very small mortgage all in my name. Haven't had any contact in years with my wife who returned to the UK. As i'm almost 'senior age' i'm needing to arrange a will to divide up my small estate between relatives mostly back in the UK. Should i/could i do this without going through the costs of a divorce and the fact i have no contact or address with her.
You need a legal consultation with an expert in wills and estates in the state in which you reside. I'm not familiar with such a situation involving a wife, but I do know someone who had a child from a first marriage who grew up with no contact whatsoever with the father. This father became a very rich man, and he had a very carefully worded will which set forth the fact that he had no contact with this specific child for X years and that this child was intentionally not included in the will and had no claims upon his estate. It held up when he passed away.
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Old Nov 18th 2017, 12:10 am
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Default Re: Making a Will without Divorcing in Florida...problems?

Originally Posted by Floridablues View Post
I'm a dual citizen living here in the US for the past 15 years. I own my home with a very small mortgage all in my name. Haven't had any contact in years with my wife who returned to the UK. As i'm almost 'senior age' i'm needing to arrange a will to divide up my small estate between relatives mostly back in the UK. Should i/could i do this without going through the costs of a divorce and the fact i have no contact or address with her.
See an estate planning attorney ASAP.
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Old Nov 18th 2017, 12:43 am
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Default Re: Making a Will without Divorcing in Florida...problems?

Originally Posted by S Folinsky View Post
See an estate planning attorney ASAP.
Agreed. The default outcome won't be in your favour.
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Old Nov 19th 2017, 4:19 am
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Default Re: Making a Will without Divorcing in Florida...problems?

Yes, see an attorney ASAP.

Florida has very specific family protection laws with regard to a homestead. I am not even sure if it is possible to leave a homestead to anyone other than a surviving spouse - even when specified in a will that it goes to someone else, that will fail and it will revert to the surviving spouse. I believe that is in the Florida State Constitution. There may be ways but if you just leave it or put it into a will, it will fail in the courts and the surviving spouse will get it.

So, see an attorney and yes it could be that you may have to get divorced.

A lot of inheritance/estate issues are enshrined in the Florida Constitution. "Surviving spouses" are generally entitled to 100% of the estate in Florida, even if there are kids (but not if the kids are from a different spouse).
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Old Nov 19th 2017, 4:45 pm
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Default Re: Making a Will without Divorcing in Florida...problems?

An example of the importance of will drafting can be seen in the death of Larry Hillblom, founder of DHL. I would not be surprised if that will is the topic of law school classes.
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Old Nov 19th 2017, 5:15 pm
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Default Re: Making a Will without Divorcing in Florida...problems?

Thanks everyone for your replies, guess i've been burying my head in the sand for to long! I'll take a good read through them all. As i mentioned, i'm close to drawing my UK state pension, no income as such coming in and very limited funds especially after 'Irma' is costing me on my insurance deductable! So very reluctant to pay out for an Attorney at the moment and still feel that it was her decision to return to the UK and abandon the marriage those years ago!
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Old Nov 20th 2017, 12:21 am
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Default Re: Making a Will without Divorcing in Florida...problems?

Out of idle curiosity I did a cursory look at Florida law. In particular I was wondering if the DIY gurus at Nolo Press had good info and material for you. One good thing about Nolo is that their DIY material says when to get a lawyer.

Yours is one of those situations.
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Old Nov 20th 2017, 2:03 am
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Default Re: Making a Will without Divorcing in Florida...problems?

Originally Posted by Floridablues View Post
Thanks everyone for your replies, guess i've been burying my head in the sand for to long! I'll take a good read through them all. As i mentioned, i'm close to drawing my UK state pension, no income as such coming in and very limited funds especially after 'Irma' is costing me on my insurance deductable! So very reluctant to pay out for an Attorney at the moment and still feel that it was her decision to return to the UK and abandon the marriage those years ago!
If you have no income and limited assets then it should make it "cheaper" to get a divorce because there will likely be little or no merit to any claim by your wife on your assets. .... You may even have a claim on hers!
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