Denver, CO asked in Child Support for Colorado

Q: Is an estate a good set up for providing future child support payments upon death

He was diagnosed with cancer. He pays child support now. He won't designate the 100k come be disbursed through the trust he's setting up. He wants to designate it come from his estate. I think he's trying to pull a scam.

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2 Lawyer Answers

Ashley Dean Powell

  • Licensed in Colorado

A: Each of us has a significant amount of flexibility in preparing our estate plan (whether by will, trust, or otherwise) however we wish. The most notable exception is that Colorado protects current spouses from being completely left out. It is unlikely that he can prepare a trust in Colorado that will protect his assets from his current/ongoing child support obligation during his life, but that child support obligation probably will not continue after he dies (perhaps a different story if he was required to maintain life insurance for the benefit of the child). If he owes for unpaid child support at his death, you/the child may be able to present a claim as a creditor of his estate (for the previously owed but unpaid child support), but he likely has no obligation to continue paying future child support out of his estate/trust/will after his death.

If anything, to the extent he prepares a trust with the child/children as beneficiaries, he may be protecting money for those kids from their own future creditors (depending on the nature of the trust). This may not be a scam; it may be him trying to do his best to provide for his kid after death. Obviously there is a lot of detail about the situation that we can't know based on the details in your question. If you are really concerned and cannot talk with him about it enough to understand his motivation, you may want to talk to a family law attorney (if there was someone who previously helped you secure the child support obligation, that might be a good place to start) to clarify the child support obligation ordered by the court. Even so, absent him violating a court order or breaching a contract he has with you, you are unlikely to have any ability to force him to tell you details about his estate plan.

John Hyland Barrett III

  • Licensed in Colorado

A: Upon his death, the court can enter new orders for child support. That can be a claim against his estate. Also, it is common that there be an order for life insurance. If so, you should make sure he is complying with the order. You should retain an attorney to help you with all this.

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