Second or third marriages are commonplace in modern society, but not everyone is clued up on the impact they can have on your Will and inheritance. Did you know that getting married without re-doing your Will could leave your children with nothing?
Is my Will valid?
Getting married, be it for the first or fifth time, automatically cancels any previous Will. Without a valid Will, the rules of intestacy will apply, and if you have children your new spouse will inherit the first £250,000 and half of any remainder of your estate. Whether or not you have been married before, entering into a marriage could leave your children from a previous relationship with little or no inheritance.
The easiest way to avoid this is to write a new Will. Failing to do so will leave the whole, or part of your estate to your surviving spouse. Your assets then become part of their assets, for them to deal with as they see fit. If you want your children to receive an inheritance, it is important to word your Will correctly to protect their portion of the assets.
If your spouse was to remarry, or have a falling out with your children, or rack up debts or care home fees after your death, your children’s inheritance could disappear. There is nothing to stop your spouse re-writing their Will after your death and diverting the entire inheritance away from your children. Legal advice is essential in ensuring your children’s inheritance is protected.
A Trust Will
A standard Will may not be appropriate – a Trust Will could be the right choice. There are various types of Trusts that you can insert into a Will, allowing your spouse to benefit from the use of your assets (i.e. live in your house) but after their death, the assets are distributed to your children (or other beneficiaries of your choosing). Importantly, because the assets are held in Trust, they are ring-fenced so they cannot be given away under your spouse’s Will or eroded by their debt or care home fees.
If you are going through a divorce your spouse may inherit until your decree absolute is issued – a process which can take years. If your marriage has failed and you no longer want your spouse to have access to your estate, it is important to write a new Will as soon as possible.
Conflicts due to relationships started later in life are now one of the most common reasons for a Will to be legally challenged. Don’t put your loved ones through additional stress while they deal with bereavement – make sure you take professional legal advice.
Get in touch
If you would like to speak to a solicitor about writing a Will, or to learn more about your legal position, get in touch with Rachel Kyle in the Wills, Trusts and Probate department of Forrester Sylvester Mackett Solicitors today on 01793 522688.