Estate Planning For Divorced Singles With Minor Children

Most people who are divorced may be surprised to learn that their ex-spouse will gain control over their minor children’s inheritance. Even if, following the divorce, you carefully change all the beneficiaries to your children in your life insurance policies, annuities, will and trust. Your ex-spouse will still gain control over the wealth you leave behind.

This is because the parent will become the guardian of your children. You cannot prevent this no matter how neglectful he or she may have been. The biological parent will always be named guardian in the absence of outright abuse.

No matter how bitter the divorce, no matter how neglectful the surviving parent may have been during your life, control over the children and their inheritance will be awarded to the biological parent.

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You cannot prevent guardianship from being awarded, but you can prevent the surviving parent from getting control over the children’s inheritance. This is especially critical because the guardian can easily benefit from expenditures ostensibly made for the children’s benefit. Proper trust planning can make sure that your children will be taken care of without benefiting the ex-spouse.

In order to accomplish this two steps need to be taken. One, the ex-spouse must be completely denied control over any of the inherited assets. Two, the person you put in control of the inherited property must be carefully instructed on how to distribute it. Distributions to the ex-spouse for the children’s benefit may not be advisable. It may become important to make distributions directly to the providers such as the school or the doctor. This way the ex-spouse cannot divert funds to enhance his own lifestyle at the children’s expense.