Florida law currently voids many life insurance beneficiary designations made pre-divorce by one spouse on behalf of the other spouse upon their divorce. Florida Statute 732.703, effective on July 1, 2012, legally treats a pre-divorce beneficiary spouse as if he or she pre-deceased the spouse holding the life insurance policy. Pre-divorce beneficiary designations for other types of non-probate assets like annuities, IRA’s, pension plans, and pay-on-death or transfer-on-death accounts are similarly voided upon divorce.
There are ways to protect your pre-divorce beneficiary designations so they do not become legally void upon divorce, including language in your marital settlement agreement and divorce final judgment stating that the beneficiary designations survive the divorce is one approach. However, it is cautioned that this is a potentially complex area of law, particularly where more substantial assets are at stake. Consultation with an attorney with expertise in this area is strongly advised.