Estate Planning For The Newly Divorced Single Parent

As of 2012, there were almost 175,000 families headed by a single parent in Minnesota, and over 10 million nationwide. Many of these single-parent households are a result of a divorce, and most of these households are headed by a single mother. There are many issues that newly single parents must face, but one that is perhaps too often overlooked is proper estate planning. While having a will or trust in place is important for all families, a single parent faces unique challenges when creating an estate plan without a spouse who will be left if they were suddenly unable to care for their family.

Creating a new estate plan after divorce

While, by law, a divorce will revoke any provisions in favor of your ex-spouse, there are many issues a divorcee must consider when creating a new will or trust:

  • Choosing an executor, personal representative or trustee. A single parent will need to find somebody new to manage their estate - this should be someone they trust, like a parent or other close family member or friend.
  • Healthcare power of attorney. This person is designated to make important medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated.
  • Changing beneficiaries. It is important to update the beneficiaries of not just your will but also your life insurance policies, investments and retirement accounts.
  • Trusts. Your beneficiaries are your minor children, and trusts can be created so that a trustee can manage their inheritance until they come of age.
  • Guardianship. In some situations, there may be a need to choose guardians for minor children, such as when the ex-spouse would not be willing, fit or able to assume custody.
  • Life insurance. Often, the divorce decree will require that one or both spouses maintain existing life insurance policies that keep the ex-spouse and children as named beneficiaries.

At Bowden ♦ Cyr, we examine your entire situation to identify the type of estate plan that is right for you. As experienced family law attorneys and skilled estate planning lawyers, we know the importance of creating a new estate plan that is in line with both the realities of the present and your hopes for the future.