Divorced and Remarried? Don’t Disinherit Your Kids

With the national divorce rate more than 40 percent,[1] a large percentage of retirees and pre-retirees will have to contend with dividing their assets between their most recent spouse and children from a previous marriage. This common dilemma can often be rectified via a type of trust called a “QTIP” trust, or Qualified Terminal Interest Property trust. The acronym describes the function of the trust, which is to allow for a “terminal interest”, meaning an interest (for the most recent spouse) that terminates upon death. This type of trust, therefore, allows the trust owner’s (who in this case will also be the deceased) most recent spouse to control the assets of the trust for the duration of the spouse’s life. Then upon the death of that spouse, his or her interest in the trust will cease and the trust will determine how the assets are distributed.

QTIP trusts were designed to prevent divorce and remarriage from disinheriting children from prior marriages. QTIP trusts allow for temporary, lifetime provision for the spouse that was married to the grantor (owner) of the trust at the time of his or her death. Therefore, if a couple with children gets divorced and the ex-husband remarries, then a QTIP trust will ensure that his new wife does not get all of his assets upon his death. She will get to use the assets, within certain parameters (i.e. there are often provisions here that can prevent the spouse from selling off certain assets, such as family heirlooms, etc.). Then, after she dies, the trust assets will be distributed according to the trust owner’s (husband’s, in this case) instructions. If you have divorced and remarried, this type of trust can prevent much antagonism and legal action by your children or other heirs, who will be certain to get what you want to leave to them after your (and your current spouse’s) death. This can be especially helpful if your current spouse is not close with your children, or has very different ideas about what to do with the trust’s assets.

If you are concerned about what will happen to your assets after you are gone and are not sure that they will go where you want them to, please call us. We will be glad to review your situation to see what needs to be done to help reduce friction in the distribution of your estate.

[1] “The National Center for Health Statistics reports that 43 percent of first marriages end in separation or divorce within 15 years. The study is based on the National Survey of Family Growth, a nationally representative sample of women age 15 to 44. Bramlett, Matthew and William Mosher. “First marriage dissolution, divorce, and remarriage: United States,” Advance Data From Vital and Health Statistics; No.323. Hyattsville MD: National Center for Health Statistics: 2 1.


[1] “The National Center for Health Statistics reports that 43 percent of first marriages end in separation or divorce within 15 years. The study is based on the National Survey of Family Growth, a nationally representative sample of women age 15 to 44. Bramlett, Matthew and William Mosher. “First marriage dissolution, divorce, and remarriage: United States,” Advance Data From Vital and Health Statistics; No.323. Hyattsville MD: National Center for Health Statistics: 2 1.

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