If I Get Divorced Should I Change My Estate Plan? Do you know when and how often your estate plan, living will, and medical directives should be updated? Matthew Brickman and Sydney Mitchell answer your most frequently asked questions about divorce as they go over several key points:
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Matthew Brickman is a Florida Supreme Court certified family and appellate mediator who has worked in the 15th and 19th Judicial Circuit Courts since 2009 and 2006 respectively. But what makes him qualified to speak on the subject of conflict resolution is his own personal experience with divorce.
Hi, my name is Sydney Mitchell.Matthew Brickman:
Hi, I'm Matthew Brickman, Florida Supreme court mediator. Welcome to the Mediate This! Podcast where we discuss everything mediation and conflict resolution.Sydney Mitchell:
Welcome everybody to this episode of Mediate This! I'm Sydney sitting here with Matthew and today we are gonna be answering some of the questions that you are listeners have been submitting to us about all things, divorce and mediation. So , um, let's just jump right in. If you do have a question in the future that you would love for us to dive into on an episode of media , this, you can just send an email, submit your questions to email@example.com . It'll get sent directly to us and we'll , uh , hopefully be able to answer your questions here. One of our listeners is asking if I get divorced, should I change my estate plan?Matthew Brickman:
Absolutely. Um, with your estate plan, living with medical directive , um , all of that, that actually , um , should be updated every two years, regardless. Like, regardless if you're married, not married, getting divorced, it's just a good rule of thumb to just update it every two years. Um, only because, you know, people get assets, they, they , they liquidate assets, they accumulate new assets. Um, I need, you know, as of the date of the recording, this, I need to update mine because my wife and I just bought a house. Um, and in my will, there's no mention of a house. <laugh> right . Um , and so, yeah. Um, uh, so yeah, I mean, if you get divorced, absolutely change your estate plan, your living will. I mean, look, another one is the medical directive. So, you know, I have a medical directive that says in the event that I become incapacitated. I, you know, number one, I don't wanna be on a ventilator. Number two, here's, you know, here here's , uh , the order of succession of people that are allowed to make decisions and whatnot for me, if you married's probably your spouse, if you're are getting divorced, you definitely don't want your expo making medical decisions for you . <laugh> kill the soccer , take 'em off life support. Like you should probably update your medical. Great tipSydney Mitchell:
Matthew . That is a great tip.Matthew Brickman:
Yeah. Great tip. Update your medical directive. Hope hopefully people do have , um , it seems like I've talked to a lot of people. People have a living will. I says , okay, if I'm living and then I die, this is what I want with my stuff. Right. And then people have estate and trust, but what a lot of people don't have is medical directive. Like, you know, granted, ISydney Mitchell:
Personally have never , yeah .Matthew Brickman:
The only , the only thing usually people have anywhere close to a medical directive is, are you a , an organ donor or not on your driver's license? <laugh> right. Other than that, a lot of people don't have like, do you want to be put on a machine? You want , you know , machine you want , um , what is it? They , uh , uh , no resuscitation , um, you know, who's making these decisions for you now in Florida, we have an exact it's outlined in the statute of who gets to make those decisions. Um, I believe regardless, like, okay, so if there is no will, I was gonna say, but you can indicate otherwise, but if they , yeah . So, so remember years ago, we're just gonna digress a little bit here. So remember, remember Terry shiau , you may be a little young for Terry shy . I don't. Okay. So Terry shiau , she was on life support. There's a back when George W. Bush was president and she was on life support , um, in Florida. And , um, um , and her hus , I believe how the story went was her and her husband were separated , uh , but still married. And she was on life support. And it , this thing went all the way to , uh, the governor to Jeb Bush and Jeb Bush was unable to do what he thought he could do and enter intervene . And a lot of people thought that they could intervene. The problem though, is you can't intervene. So they could not find a living will medical directive for her. Well, so Florida actually has an outline that says, okay, in the event that there is not a medical director . So like I have one. So it says what to do , but let's say that you don't have one. Okay. <affirmative> okay. Well, something happens to you. Okay. So you don't have anything who gets to make the decision. There's an exact order. The first person in line is a spouse, but what if you don't have a spouse? Well, then it's your parents. What if your parents are dead, then it's your oldest sibling. What if you don't have a sibling? Okay. Well then I believe the next one is an adult relative. And after that is, I think it's an adult friend and then the state. So, I mean goes something like that, friend, maybe not in there. It's been a while since I've studied this anyway. So with Terry Cheva , so her parents were like, look, we want to make the decision we want to , um , we , we want to keep her alive. And her husband was like, no, she, she , she would not want this. She would want to be dead . She would want me to pull life support. This thing went all the way up to , uh , the , uh , the , uh , appellate court in Atlanta. Um , or yeah , yeah, yeah. The district court of appeals and even Jeb Bush got involved. And it turned out at the end of the day that even though they had been separated, because we don't have legal separation, they were still legally married. Therefore he got to Trump, mom and dad, and they pulled the plug . That's so hard, but it got caught up and it was national story. And it was interesting because people were trying to sneak in and give her ice chips, you know , uh , you know , bypass the tube. The problem though, is they didn't realize that by giving her ice chips, she could actually drown without being in any water because she was on a tube. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, it's like, you can't do these things, people, but in any case. So yeah. I mean, it's very important that if you don't want your spouse, especially like if you're separated , um, or, you know, some people aren't on good terms with their painters . I've, I've had so many of those where they're not on good terms with their parents , um , or, you know, they, you know, they're , they're not speaking with the brother or the sister ,Sydney Mitchell:
Or they just don't have a relationship haven't talked in 20 years andMatthew Brickman:
All of a sudden, yeah , like , you know, what have a living will get a , uh , have a living will get a fi a , a , uh , a state plan . And if you do have an estate or at least get a medical directive, so you can bypass and just say, look, this is the person I want making the decision. I know they will honor my decision. They will do what I want them to do. And , uh, and it'll be done. Um, for example, you know, when, when my brother passed away , um, I was , um, I was left in charge because he knew I would follow exactly what he wanted to a T on everything. Like, he , he knew like Matthew was not gonna then just go rogue, even though I'm not here and do his own thing. My grandmother did the same thing. She left me in charge. She says, you know what? I know that you will honor my wishes and you will not go rogue. And I know that you, and , you know, as a media, she goes , I know that you're gonna be able to handle all the family. And I had to handle my mom and my uncle, and there's , you know , my dad and my aunt, and then all the grandkids and the great grandkids and, you know, their spouses and everybody, and the division of the estate. So, you know, when , you know, it's also important, pick someone and you trust for your executor mm-hmm <affirmative>. But yeah, these are the things that you absolutely should change after a divorce, but even look every two years divorced or not, right.:
Occasionally Sydney and I will be releasing Q and bonus episodes where we will answer questions and give you a personal shoutSydney Mitchell:
If you have a comment or question regarding anything that we discuss, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org that's email@example.com and stay tuned to hear your shout out and have your question answered here on the show.Matthew Brickman:
For more information about my services or to schedule your mediation with me, either in person or using my iChatMediation Virtual Platform built by Cisco Communications. Visit me online at www.iMediateInc.com. Call me at 561-262-9121, Toll-Free at 877-822-1479 or email me at MBrickman@iChatMediation.com.