In today’s always changing and fast moving society, many individuals marry, divorce, and remarry over the course of their lives. Often times, a husband and wife will execute a joint will or separate wills during their marriage, leaving a substantial portion of their assets to one another. But, what is the effect of divorce upon a will if a new will is not executed subsequent to the divorce? Will the ex-spouse obtain assets that he or she was bequeathed or devised in a will executed during the previous marriage? Will the deceased’s current spouse be entitled to any of the deceased’s property that was bequeathed to the former spouse?
The Florida legislature has addressed these concerns in the Florida Statutes. In Florida, under what is known as the “Pretermitted Spouse Statute,” a spouse who marries an individual after that individual has executed his or her will is entitled to receive a share of the deceased individual’s estate equal in value to what the surviving spouse would have received if the deceased had died intestate (i.e., without a will). Fla. Stat. § 732.301. The surviving spouse is entitled to collect his or her pretermitted share from other property that was supposed to pass through intestacy and from property that was devised to beneficiaries under the will. Fla. Stat. § 733.805. The surviving spouse will continue taking devised property from individuals under the will until the pretermitted share is fully satisfied.