Dads and separation – what should I do about my affairs, wills and trusts?
The first thing to consider is your Will which sets out your children’s needs in the event of your death. It details what you will leave to your children, lists guardians to be appointed for your children and typically adds your children as beneficiaries to your assets. If you haven’t got a Will it may be a good idea to get this sorted now. For your Will to be recognised legally it needs to be done by a solicitor.
If you have a Will in place you will need to talk to a solicitor about making changes to it. The law says that your next of kin is your ex until the final decree of divorce. This basically means that if you die and there have been no changes to your Will, your ex may inherit your assets – not your children.
If you separate from your partner and intend on ending the marriage, details in your Will relating to your (ex) partner will remain valid until separation formally goes through or you get a divorce.
It is advisable to use a different solicitor from the one your ex partner is using (which may have been your family solicitor in the past) – you don’t want any complications or conflicts of interest.
Sorting out a Will at what can be an emotional time may not seem a priority, but it’s worth thinking about it. You never know what’s round the corner, and a Will can help your children have the future you want for them, whatever happens.
In addition to getting your Will sorted, it may also be useful to have a look at any Power of Attorney you may have had in place, your retirement arrangements, financial affairs (especially long term investments), bank accounts (especially access and control arrangements) and any insurance policies you might have in place so you know where you stand financially.
Key take aways:
- Get a Will or update your existing Will.
- Use a different solicitor to your ex partner.
- Check your financial affairs to get a clear picture of where you stand financially.
Important links and more information about separation: