Wills & Extended Families

I often sit with clients wanting to make a Will who have remarried, or repartnered as they say in the courts. One tricky issue that inevitably arises where each partner has children from a previous relationship is how to ensure your own children will be looked after when you die.

It can be quite a sensitive issue in a new relationship. Most Wills are made out to consider your spouse firstly and on their passing away, the children will get the benefit. Often the children of both partners are included but what if, after you have gone, things change. Is your spouse or partner doomed to spend the rest of their days alone. Of concern here is that the survivor changes their Will leaving out your children.

One option is to spend any inheritance before you die, if that is not an option then you have to look for ways to get around the problem. If you leave your share to your children, your spouse may find themselves kicked out of the marital home. Do you trust your spouse to leave your share to your children when they die.

There are a range of options that need to be considered at the time of making your Will. You may need to structure the way your assets are held, if you hold real estate as joint tenants it will pass directly to the survivor, arranging a Life Estate in your share of the property may be the way. Another option is what is known as a ‘Mutual Will’.

Mutual Wills include an agreement which can provide for each of you to leave everything to each other, but on the death of the survivor, your respective children get a share of the estate. The Wills are made conditional on each other doing this. If one of you later change your mind a beneficiary may be entitled to sue in contract for their share.

At least one thing is clear, you need to get good advice on how to structure your Will to suit your individual situation and ensure your final wishes are carried out.

This article was written by: Mark