If you were separated from your spouse and he or she died, your spouse’s assets would pass according to his or her Will. If your spouse died without a Will, the assets would pass according to Florida law, which means a portion of the assets would go to you, as the surviving spouse, and a portion may go to the children as well. Any assets you owned jointly with right of survivorship would pass automatically to you, as the survivor, no matter what the Will says.
Once the divorce is final in Pasco County, if your spouse passed away the next day, this would not affect the property division – the property is to be divided the way the divorce agreement states. However, you may no longer receive alimony and child support – those normally end when a person passes away. Your child or children may be entitled to a portion of the estate though.
You may be surprised how often people pass away after being separated for years, but never take the steps to divorce. Maybe they didn’t have the money for a divorce or did not want to get remarried so didn’t see the point of the divorce. In that situation, the deceased person may not have wanted his or her spouse to inherit, but did not take any steps to keep it from happening.
If you have been separated for a while and you want to ensure that your legal rights are protected, call Dale Bernstein, a Pasco County, Florida divorce attorney, at 727-478-3250. He works to protect the legal interests of his clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas or Hillsborough Counties. Call to find out how he can help you.