A Will is a legal document that ensures your assets are given to the children, or whoever else you designate as a beneficiary. When you have just gone through the stress of a divorce, making a Will is probably the last thing on your mind, but it is one of the most important things to take care of – with the help of your family law firm – now that you are on your own and very likely have custody of the children. Taking care of them by ensuring they get what assets you have should the worst happen, is paramount to their well-being.
Any Will that you made with your ex is now invalid and both he and you need to make new ones that takes into account your new circumstances. You will have certain assets from the marriage or partnership that need to be taken care of in a Will, if your children are to be the recipients. Of course, they may be too young yet to have full access, but if you have financial assets, you can set up a trust that will take care of their needs until they become of age. That way they will still have enough money for their education and all the things that you have planned for their future.
You might want to also make your wishes known about future care of the children if you are not there to look after them.
If you had a Will while you were married, after you separate it will still be in force should you die before a divorce is granted. So it is a good idea to change your Will the moment you separate. (Remember, you can’t apply for a divorce until you’ve been separated for 12 months, or 2 years for a de facto relationship.) Then, when the divorce is finalised you need to upgrade the Will once again, since the other one will then be invalid.
You may think that this is a lot of trouble, but it is less trouble than what would happen if you didn’t change it. Since a Will becomes invalid after a divorce, you would be deemed to have died intestate, which means a great deal of your assets would be taken up by the costs of sorting out who gets what. There may not be much left over for the children – and your ex may even get something.
While it is never a happy topic to talk about, having a valid Will means that should the worst happen, your wishes about your assets and who should benefit by them will be carried out. Even if you have just a few assets, dividing them between your children will be a great comfort to them when you are not there.