When couples divorce, they each prepare separate estate plans. However, when children are involved, it would seem that some coordination might be helpful for the benefit of their children. There are a few important things to know about coordinating estate plans of divorced parents.
Using the Same Attorney
Some couples opt to use the same estate planning attorney for convenience. This can be helpful, especially if both plans will benefit the children. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure the attorney is an independent party and not in any way related to either parent. Second, if both parents have seemingly contradicting estate plans or a terribly contentious relationship, it may be best to obtain independent counsel as conflicts of interest may exist. This can provide peace of mind and ease worries about confidentiality. Lastly, if each couple resides in different states, each should hire an attorney within their respective states as state laws do vary.
In most divorces, both parents have the same goal of providing for the future and well-being of their children. However, although goals may be similar, there can be conflicting views on how to accomplish them. For example, one parent may believe in giving children access to all funds once they turn 18 whereas another may want a more structured approach through early adulthood. Ultimately, what one parent chooses will directly impact the surviving parent and their relationship with the children. Thus, communicating with one another and sharing concerns can be valuable for both parents.
Don’t Make Assumptions When Coordinating Estate Plans of Divorced Couples
Although we recommend coordinating estate plans for divorced couples, we also want to share a word of caution. Don’t assume that the other parent will follow-through. Be comfortable with your own estate plan regardless of what other plans may exist. Work with your attorney to find solutions for your specific concerns. Having prepared many estate plans for divorced couples, our team understands what you’re going through and is available to guide you through the process. Contact us to schedule a consultation with our team of Massachusetts Estate Planning Attorneys.