This is a particular problem in today`s society where a person may marry more than once in their lifetime. Married couples often prepare Mirror Wills leaving everything to each other and then their children on death.
This is suitable for the most part but if the other spouse remarries or becomes estranged from the children this could prevent a serious risk to their inheritance.
So how can we protect our children from this situation?
Even if you have Mirror Wills leaving everything to each other first and then after you both die to your children, we can see leaving everything to your husband /wife in your Will is not without risk.
The surviving spouse may remarry or change their Will and not provide for your children.
If you do not make a Will then your family and children will be subject to the Intestacy Rules which will distribute your estate via strict rules and will not provide for your stepchildren.
So, What Can You do?
It is important to know that anything held jointly passes outside of your Will.
The biggest asset most couples own is their home which is often held jointly.
This may be ideal for some but in order to protect your share of your assets for your children. You could sever the joint tenancy and hold the property as tenants in common, each owning a separate share of the property which you can then choose to leave to each other to live in during their lifetime, but after it passes to your children on their death.
This can be provided for by creating a Life interest Trust in your Will and allows the trustees to provide for your husband/ wife in their lifetime and then for your children after
Your husband/ wife would be entitled to income from your assets held in trust and you could also provide that the trustees could provide some Capital to your spouse if they consider it appropriate.
We are here to provide expert professional advice and find the best way forward for your own particular set of circumstances. Contact our office today to discuss the options which are best suited to you.