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Beneficiary Proceeds Controlled by Ex-Spouse

When a couple divorces there are many documents which need to be changed.  Bank accounts need to be separated, your last will and testament likely needs to be changed assuming you no longer want your ex-spouse to have your property, and the beneficiaries designated to receive your 401K, IRA, life insurance and other such assets must also be changed.  If you designate your minor children as beneficiaries it is a good idea to specify that those assets pass in trust for your children.  A trusted adult should be designated to act as trustee of such trust.

When one spouse of a married couple passes away and leaves money to minor children, often the surviving parent will be the trustee of the trust for the minor children. It is common though for divorced parents to want someone other than their ex-spouse to control the trust assets for the minor children. If no other third party is designated to manage the trust assets, a court may designate the surviving parent (and ex-spouse) as trustee of the trust assets. This scenario can easily be avoided by naming not only an intial trustee but also a successor trustee in case the first named trustee is unable to serve.

Getting Legal Help

Understanding your rights and those of your spouse and your children are important factors in creating your estate planning documents. Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Elga Goodman can help you get started on making smart choices to preserve and grow your estate.  Contact us today at 973-841-5111 to learn more.

Posted in: Estate Planning, New York Estate Planning