Changing Your Estate Plan After Divorce

Changing Your Estate Plan After DivorceReviewing and updating your estate planning documents should be one of your top priorities after completing your divorce. Your documents likely name your former spouse as your primary beneficiary upon your death, as well as giving him or her power of attorney in case you are incapacitated. If you do not have an estate plan, it is vital that you create one. A living trust or will can dictate what actions should be taken after your death or incapacitation and protect your surviving children.

Clear Intentions

Failing to update your estate plan does not mean your former spouse will reap the benefits. A probate court or your family members can surmise that you did not intend to leave your estate to your former spouse or give him or her decision-making powers over you. However, your survivors may need a lengthy legal battle to determine what your intentions were. By updating the documents as needed, you are sparing your family from having to fight for your estate.

Financial Beneficiaries

If you have children from your marriage, you will likely want to name them as the primary beneficiaries in case of your untimely demise. However, you must also consider:

  • At what age should your children receive the assets?;
  • Will they receive the assets all at once or gradually as they get older?; and
  • Who will control the assets until your children are old enough to receive them?

A living trust can specify your answers to these questions. Before completely cutting your former spouse out of your trust, you should also consider his or her child support needs after your death. You may need to let go of your resentment and acknowledge that leaving your former spouse some assets may help your children.

Guardianship

In most cases, the surviving parent is assumed to receive the full allocation of parental responsibilities upon the other parent’s death or incapacitation. However, you may still need a provision in your estate planning documents naming a guardian for your children in case your former spouse is:

  • Also dead or incapacitated; or
  • Unfit or unwilling to be the children’s full-time parent.

Following your death, the court will place your children with the person it believes serves their best interest. Letting your preference be known may help the court make the decision.

Updates After Divorce

There are several important documents you will need to change to reflect your new marital status after your divorce. A Kane County family law attorney at Geneva Family Lawyers can help you keep track of all the updates you need to make. To schedule a free consultation, call 331-588-6611.

Source:

http://stories.avvo.com/wills-estate-planning/estate-planning-single-parents.html

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