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The ways in which families are restructured after divorce can be stressful for everyone affected. Suddenly, people who have been intimately involved in each other’s lives are now no longer related. This reality can be particularly challenging for the children of divorced parents, no matter what age these children happen to be when the divorce occurs, as a family attorney Austin, TX trusts knows well.
Some of the challenges that frequently affect older children of divorce are questions about inheritance. Do the non-biological children of each parent still inherit? Do the biological children of either parent have greater claims to future inheritance than former step-children do? These are just some of the questions that your older children may be left wondering if you have recently divorced or are divorcing and have yet to clarify your estate plan. Our firm is happy to help you ensure that your wishes are respected in regards to all of your biological, non-biological and former stepchildren. We will just need to take a few steps to clarify your estate plan.
If You Want Nothing to Change
If your estate plan does not need to be changed in any way, it may serve you and your loved ones well to file a statement to this effect. The process of clarifying that, as of right now, you wish for your beneficiaries, etc. to remain the same is quick and easy. Failure to include a clarification may lead to in-fighting later as one or more of your children may choose to challenge your estate plan in court. The argument may be made that in the wake of your divorce, you had no desire to gift anything to your former step-child(ren) and/or spouse and that the court should therefore overrule your estate plan as written. Clarifying your wishes will help to avoid this outcome. This is also true for any power of attorney designation or any other aspect of your estate plan.
If You Want Changes Made
It has been said that the main reasons why loved ones fight over the structure and contents of estate plans after someone has passed away are uncertainty, inequality and surprises. By making changes to your estate plan now and making those changes clear to any current or former beneficiaries, you can help to avoid at least two of these common reasons for conflict.
It is important that you examine all elements of your estate plan when determining what changes are needed at this time. Double-check all beneficiary designations, power of attorney, trusts and even health care directives. Anything that needs clarification should be addressed no so that there is no uncertainty and there are no surprises later.
Don’t Wait to Clarify Your Estate Plan
Waiting to clarify your estate plan could have serious consequences. None of us knows how much time we have to get our affairs in order. As a result, it is important to clarify your will and other estate plan documents as soon as possible in order to ensure that your wishes are respected. Please call us today so that we can aid you in this and any other divorce-related challenges you may be currently facing.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at the Law Offices of Ryan S. Dougay for their insight into family law.