ARTICLE: Updating Your Estate Plan After a Divorce

Updating Your Estate Plan After a Divorce

The most common reason for revising wills and trusts after divorce is to make sure that your estate plan represents your current family situation and there are no unforeseen issues when you pass away. This is especially important if you have children. Protecting children and ensuring there is a continuity of care for minor children and your adults is often overlooked. Without an update there are many ways that your estate plan may not function in accordance with your original desires.

Creating a Trust for Minor and Adult Children

For most families, the continuity of care for minor children is the highest priority. A parent might wish to consider setting up a trust to ensure that his or her children from a previous marriage are properly cared for after his or her death. This type of trust can be used to provide for children until they reach a certain age, such as 18 to 21 (or older). The money in the trust is managed by a trustee who will pay bills and spend the trust assets on behalf of the child. This allows the parent to know that their child’s needs will be provided for after his/her death and also ensures that children do not squander too large an inheritance at once. 

Another issue to consider is that even after a child turns 18, a trust might provide the type of care you desire for your children. These include many of the expenses that parents often assist young adults with: college expenses, wedding expenses, down payment on a first home, and many others. It is important to discuss the trust you wish to create with your children and their trustee. This will ensure that everyone involved is clear about what your wishes are.

This same type of trust can be used for adult children who might need financial support but are unable to manage an inheritance on their own. If a child has special needs or disabilities it may not be safe for him/her to receive too large an inheritance all at once. The ability to provide funds over time through a properly set up trust ensures that there is no chance of squandering an entire estate on life’s necessities in one year, which would only require the next disbursement from the trust when they were still alive. Setting up trust provisions for this situation ahead of time provides certainty and clarity for the trustee and adult children that they will always have sufficient support to live comfortably.

If you have questions about your existing estate plan after going through a divorce, Roth Elder Law, PLLC would be happy to consult with you to review your will or trust provisions. This ensures that your wishes will be carried out after your death and there will be no unintended consequences or loopholes in your plan.

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We at Roth Elder Law, PLLC, believe in providing services in a way that clients can easily understand and meaningfully participate in designing and maintaining their estate plan for their loved ones, as well as be assured that their plan will be administered according to their wishes.