Going through a divorce is one of the most difficult things a person can experience. The pain and stress of the situation can be even harder when there are children involved. Once the case is final and parents establish their separate homes, each will have to rebuild their lives. Part of this process will include looking at their estate plans and making changes. Here is more on estate planning steps for newly single parents:
Reviewing Your Estate Planning Documents
During your divorce, you and your former spouse probably went through numerous financial documents as you divided your assets. When the focus is on sorting out existing funds and property, estate planning does not always come to mind. Now that the divorce is final, this is a good time to contact a California estate planning attorney to go over your existing documents and determine what updates are needed.
- Your Will— If you and your ex prepared wills together, they were probably devised in a way that planned for you to remain married and share your estate. Now that you are no longer a couple, you will want to amend your will to reflect your current life circumstances. You can also name alternate guardians in your will if your former spouse is not alive or is unavailable to provide care for your kids.
- Your Trust— When parents leave their estates to their minor children, the kid’s inheritance could end up in the hands of the next guardian. In many cases, that would mean the other parent. If you have concerns about that result, you could arrange to have your children’s inheritance placed into a trust to be managed by a designated trustee until they reach a specific age.
- Life Insurance– Another topic to review is life insurance policies. If your ex was the primary wage earner, he or she might have had a policy that named you and your kids as the beneficiaries. Although all of you may still be beneficiaries, unless you agreed to a specific term during the divorce, your ex can make changes at any time. Likewise, if you still have your ex on your policy and only want the proceeds to go to your children, you will need to make updates. Additionally, you may want to consider directing any insurance payments into a trust for your children’s benefit.
- Advance Health Care Directive and Power of Attorney– Your Advance Health Care Directive and Power of Attorney are critical documents to have in place if you become seriously ill or injured. The Advance Health Care Directive provides your medical providers with instructions regarding your treatment preferences. It also allows you to name another person to make decisions about your care. Your power of attorney grants someone else the authority to assume responsibility for your financial affairs. If you don’t have updated versions of these documents, it’s crucial that you meet with an estate planning attorney as soon as possible to make sure they have the most current information.
Single parents can have so many responsibilities that critical tasks such as estate planning can end up being postponed. Although it may seem that other matters are more urgent, updating your estate plan is one of the most important things you can do for your family. At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we have attorneys who have extensive experience assisting clients with estate planning and can help you prepare for your family’s future. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. /contact/