Why Estate Planning is Important for Your Children During a Divorce

You may have heard people say that after their divorce, they made major changes in their lives, since they were finally free to live life on their own terms, without considering their ex-spouse.  Whether they embraced a minimalist lifestyle, started their own business, took up a new hobby, or changed their diet, they are probably telling you a cleaned-up version of the story.

When most people get divorced, they feel so overwhelmed by all the details of disentangling themselves from their marriage and taking on the challenges of being a single parent that they procrastinate everything except the most urgent matters. The major life changes probably happened more gradually than your friends are willing to admit. The decluttering can wait, but if you have recently gotten divorced, you cannot afford to procrastinate working on your estate plan. A Whittier estate planning lawyer can help you get started.

If Your Children are Minors

If you have children, you need an estate plan, regardless of your marital status and of your children’s age. The default option is that your children’s other parent (your spouse, partner, or ex) will become the children’s primary residential parent. If you are married to your children’s other parent, money that benefits your children will most likely go to your spouse, who will financially support the children on behalf of both of you. If you are divorced, it is a good idea to indicate a trusted adult, such as a family member or lawyer, who can disburse the children’s inheritance money for their benefit until they reach adulthood (or even longer if the idea of an 18-year-old being free to spend a huge inheritance scares you). The easiest way to do this is to set up a trust.

If Your Children are Adults

Even if your children are grown up, divorce is still an important reason to revise your estate plan.  Remember those surviving spouses have the right to claim a fraction of the estate (usually one third), regardless of what the decedent’s will says. This means that, if you get remarried, the probate of your estate could cause a battle between your children and their stepparent. Elective shares do not apply to non-probate assets, though, so setting up a trust is the most error-proof solution in this case, too.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to update your estate plan after the divorce is that, if you do not, your ex-spouse may still be able to inherit some probate or non-probate assets from you. All of your efforts to keep your ex from wasting money meant for your children (or your siblings or anyone else) could go to waste if you do not update your estate plan.

Contact the Law Offices of Omar Gastelum About Revising Your Estate Plan After your Divorce

An immigration services lawyer can help you rewrite your estate plan after a divorce.  Contact the Law Offices of Omar Gastelum and Associates APLC in Whittier, California to set up a consultation.

To avoid probate disputes and to ensure that your children, regardless of age, are financially provided for, it is essential to update your estate plan as soon as your divorce becomes final.