Estate Planning for Divorced Parents

10 Tips When You’re Going Through One of the Worst Times of Life

Your current life is ending. There’s grief, there’s sorrow. There’s loss. I know. I’ve been there.

Between the tears, when you have your wits about you, you may realize that there’s a gaping hole in your knowledge–and that’s what would happen to your children and estate if something happens to you.

Well, we want you to know what you need to know. These are some quick tips to get you thinking about some of the issue that will come up now that you and your spouse are separating. The first six tips are for parents who are not in high-conflict divorce or parenting situations. The last four tips are for parents that are in difficult co-parenting or solo parenting situations. Our advice, straight away, is to gather a good team to help you with your divorce and the clean up afterward. Start here:

  1. Your former spouse is automatically cut out of your estate and/or your estate planning documents. When the divorce decree is signed, your former spouse’s name is stricken from your Will, trust, powers of attorney and medical documents. They no longer have any right to serve as your executor, your decision maker, or agent. They also lose the right to inherit from you. When you die, your former spouse is treated as if they predeceased you, even if they’re still alive. But, you may want your ex to remain an integral part of your estate plan even after divorce. If you want your spouse to serve for you, you must plan after the divorce has been finalized in order to re-insert them into your planning.
  2. Even so, your former spouse could intervene in your estate. If you have minor children or property remaining together, your former spouse may be able intervene in your estate. Just because you have no legal relationship to each other doesn’t mean you have no relationship at all. If you die or are disabled, your former spouse can petition to be the executor because they are your child’s other legal representative, you being one as well.

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