Automatic Nullification of Certain Non-Probate Assets after Divorce

As of July 1, 2012, Florida enacted Florida Statutes Section 732.703. This statute automatically nullifies the designation of a spouse as a beneficiary on certain non-probate assets upon divorce. The general purpose of the law is to expand the already automatic revocation of a spouse designation on a will or revocable trust after a divorce. Florida Statutes Section 732.703 generally applies to life insurance policies, qualified annuities, IRAs and pay-on-death accounts. It passes the asset as if the former spouse predeceased the decedent. The law lays out specific means for determining the proper beneficiary in situations where the law applies.

Take heed, however, because Florida Statutes Section 732.703 does not apply to all non-probate assets. The automatic nullification is not all encompassing, and there are many non-probate assets that will not get this special treatment. Finally, the law removes banks and insurances companies from liability if a former spouse improperly cashes a payout check. Now, you must directly sue the former spouse and cannot sue the bank or the insurance company for issuing or cashing the check.

If you are recently divorced, or if you your marriage was recently annulled, and you want to make sure a former spouse is no longer the designated beneficiary on your non-probate assets, please contact Chepenik Trushin LLP at (305) 981-8889.

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