The death of a parent can be an extremely traumatic experience – particularly if it happens suddenly, at a relatively young age and when no provision has been made for the distribution of assets … and the other parents remarries.
What adds to that trauma is when you think provision HAS been made but the reality turns out to be something completely different!
We are seeing more and more cases of people remarrying and believing an existing will which leaves everything to their children still stands, but it doesn’t.
The result: children are losing out to their new step-parents and the wishes of their deceased parent is lost.
A family at war
We would like to tell you about a very young newly-married couple who moved into a council house with the wife’s ailing mother. All this happened some years ago and life events started gathering pace as time passed:
- Five children were born
- Granny passed away
- The tenancy passed to mum and dad
- A decision was taken to buy the property
The biggest decision was buying the house – it was just too good an opportunity to miss. Finding the money for the mortgage was difficult initially but as rent prices rose and mortgage payments remained fairly manageable it proved to be the right decision and they had a valuable asset.
Then came the day when the family were fully grown and starting to have children of their own. The couple thought the time was right to make a will and it was decided that dad should leave the proceeds of his half of the house to the five children while mum should leave her half to be split between the grandchildren.
When mum died dad lived in the house alone for some time but eventually met another woman and then came the decision to remarry. This caused the children, who were aware of the will, to question what was going to happen to the house, prompting a rift which never healed.
- When one partner dies the assets automatically pass to the surviving spouse
- At this point the children would benefit should the surviving parent die without remarrying or changing their will
- If the surviving parent remarries then any children from the first marriage would not automatically benefit from the will when that parent dies – this would automatically pass to the new spouse and their children
What can be done to ensure your wishes are carried out?
There are flexible and protective trusts which can be employed to ensure you can achieve your desired goals. This would mean YOUR assets being moved into a trust for your partner’s benefit – they would still be able to live in the property and benefit from any income that may be generated from these assets – while maintaining the underlying capital for your children’s future.
It is so important for couples to get together and discuss exactly how they wish their assets distributed after death and, if necessary, for each to also state separately what they wish doing with their half of the joint assets in the event of them dying before their partner. Taking care of your children’s inheritance is critical.
For expert advice and guidance on how we can help you, call us on 01952 305105 or 07786 548025 or email firstname.lastname@example.org