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Check Your Estate Plan After a Divorce

July 27, 2014

If you are currently undergoing a divorce, or recently went through one, it is likely your brain is filled to capacity with concerns, worries, and stresses.

Once you have any small semblance of peace, though, it is important to add one more thought to the list: Estate planning.

If you had an estate plan all set up in your marriage, it is crucial that you have it looked at and update the relevant data as soon as possible. Estate plans are basically ways to designate where you want your money to go, and given that you likely don’t want too many of your assets going to your ex-spouse any more, it is well worth taking a look at your plan. Most divorce agreements specifically extinguish your ex-spouse’s rights under wills and trusts, but do not just take that for granted.

Also, do not forget that it’s quite possible some of the assets you mention in your estate plan are no longer in your possession to begin with.

The main thing you need to watch out for, though, is with children under 18 years of age and any property held in conservatorships. Courts will appoint guardians for minors, which will usually end up being your ex-spouse, so even though your child will not have any legal claim to the property until they are 18, your ex-spouse will likely have the ability to effect how your assets are used.

You can often work your way around those issues by setting up trusts for your children instead of conservatorships, but all of these issues are best brought up with an experienced estate planning attorney. They will be able to advise you of the best way to protect your assets, and get them where you want them to be.