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Divorce may change what people leave to their kids

It's no secret that divorce has an impact on estate planning. When your marriage ends, you need to make sure your estate plan does not still leave assets to your ex. You need to update your life insurance beneficiary designation. You need to consider who will make end-of-life care decisions for you. And these are just a few examples.

One thing to consider, though, is the way that it impacts your relationship with the kids. Is that, in turn, going to change how much you want to leave to them in your will?

For instance, some experts believe that parents who do not have custody may leave less money to their children than those who do have custody. They may also leave less to them than they would have if the marriage had lasted. The issue is a lack of involvement and time.

"The ties that parents have with kids and their interest in supporting them could well be weakened by the fact that they haven't spent much time with them," said an economics professor who studied the issue.

The reality is simply that you may have other people come into your life who become important after your divorce. For instance, if you get remarried five years later, will you now leave the bulk of your inheritance to your new spouse and any children you have in your second marriage?

What you decide to do is up to you, but you must know how to address a complex estate plan with blended families and extra relationships. It's important to look into all of the options you have and to carefully consider the type of plan your family needs.

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