Life is uncertain. There is no area of law where this is more true than in estate planning. I often have clients come see me who, after completing their estate planning, end up getting a divorce. When this occurs several new issues arise that have to be dealt with concerning my client’s estate planning. Here are the 3 most common things to consider about Estate Planning and divorce.
1. MINOR CHILDREN
If you have minor children, which are children under the age of 18, and you are divorced, your estate planning may need to be altered or changed. Originally, while you were married you would have allowed your spouse to take care of those children upon your death. This same will be true if your spouse is the natural parent of those children. However, if your ex spouse passes away before you do and then you pass away at a time when your children are still minors, you will have the ability in your estate planning to control who is named as the guardian for your minor children. For this reason, if you have been through a divorce, you should review your estate plan and make sure that you have made a provision for a guardian for your minor children.
2. DISTRIBUTIONS OF PROPERTY
The second thing to consider if you have been divorced, is the distribution of your property through your last will and testament. More than likely, if you received your estate planning while you were married, you indicated that you wanted your property to go to your spouse. You more than likely named your spouse as the recipient of your estate. Now that you are divorced, it is likely that you no longer want your property or your estate to go to this individual. For this reason, after a divorce, it is wise to review your last will and testament and make sure that the distributions of your property are going to the individuals you choose.
3. NAMING OF PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVES AND OTHER FIDUCIARIES
The third thing to consider about your estate planning following a divorce, are the individuals you have named as fiduciaries in your estate planning. A fiduciary is a person you have named to care for your property after you are gone. This is usually done through your last will and testament by naming a Personal Representative who some people call an Executor.
If you obtained your estate plan while you were married it is more than likely that you named your spouse as your first choice as personal representative for your estate. For this reason, following a divorce, it would be wise for you to review your estate plan and make sure that the individuals you have named as the personal representative are still the people you would choose. If changes need to be made then you can update your last will and testament and name new people to act as your personal representative. This will give you the peace of mind that you estate plan is once again customized to accomplish what you desire upon your death.
If you have recently been through a divorce, and you have concerns or questions about your estate planning, we can help. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at email@example.com. We will answer your Idaho Estate Planning questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.
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