22 Aug 16

Would the Children Still Be His Heir If We Got an Annulment?

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If you and your former husband get an annulment, it may have some effect on your estate plan as well as his. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your child will no longer be an heir or beneficiary. Let’s take a look at how property is passed down to help clarify estate planning after the end of a marriage.

Some Assets May Come With Beneficiary Designations

There are some assets that may allow a person to name a beneficiary regardless of the relationship between the two. Therefore, it may be possible for a child to be the beneficiary of an IRA account or money left in a 401k. It may also be possible for a child to inherit the cash value of a life insurance policy or a home that your former husband had a deed to.

A Trust May Be Created For the Child

If a former husband and your child had a good relationship, he may create a trust for that child. Like assets with beneficiary designations, assets passed down through a trust are not subject to probate. Therefore, it may be easy to transfer a baseball card collection, a coin collection or anything that your child had an attachment to without the threat of a legal challenge from other family members.

The Child May Also Be Kept in a Will

It is also possible that your child will still be part of your former husband’s will. However, the will needs to go through probate, which means it could be subject to a formal legal challenge. For instance, other children or other family members may try to claim that you coerced him to include your child even though there was no valid reason to after the annulment. While not all legal challenges are successful, the annulment could impact the child’s ability to be an heir to his estate.

Assets May Be Gifted Before Death

It is possible that assets are gifted to a child prior to your former husband’s death. This may be beneficial to him because it may lower his estate tax burden for other family members that he may be leaving behind. It may also help to improve his legacy prior to passing on. For the child, it may be beneficial because it becomes his or her property as soon as it is gifted. Therefore, it can’t be taken back or otherwise withheld from the child.

Once a marriage is dissolved, your estate plan needs may change. You may want to change beneficiary designations or rewrite your will to ensure that your former husband is no longer a part of it. However, you and your husband may still wish to leave assets to biological sons or daughters or any children who you or your husband considered to be your own.

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