Divorce changes just about everything -- including how you may want to distribute your assets to your heirs once you are gone -- or even who you consider to be your heirs.
When you were married, you likely figured your spouse would inherit everything. If you have children, you probably expected your spouse to do whatever was needed with the money to meet your children's needs.
Now that you're divorced, everything is bound to be different. If you have no children, you probably don't still intend to leave your former spouse everything. If you do have children, even the most amicable divorce has a way of eroding the sense of trust between former partners -- even when it comes down to the welfare of the children they share. That means deciding who you want to handle the assets from your estate on behalf of your children if you aren't around anymore.
You also need to consider your unborn heirs. If you are young and healthy, you could end up conceiving a child unexpectedly or after remarrying. You don't want to take the risk that a child, barely conceived when you died, might have to sue to get his or her share of your estate.
If you already have children and don't see yourself having any more of your own, you need to give a thought to the possibility of grandchildren down the road -- unless you want to rush to update your will each time a new grandchild's pending arrival is announced.
Often, a good solution is to leave your assets in some form of a trust for the benefit of your children, born and unborn, and their children, born and unborn. You can set up the trust so that it redivides any payouts with the birth of each new child according to whatever preset formula you see fit. Trusts can also be designed to benefit other relatives or a favorite charity if it turns out that you never do have children.
Post-divorce estate planning can be a complicated process that takes a lot of careful thought. Consider hiring an attorney who is familiar with this type of planning in order to ensure your heirs' future financial stability. For more information on our approach, please visit our page.