We all hope to be able to find the one, get married and settle down! However, sometimes when we don’t get it right the first time, our happily ever after is given a second or even a third chance, if we’re lucky that is.
In those cases there are usually children involved and it is a difficult balancing act of ensuring that you take care of your new spouse and also your children. Pre-nuptial agreements are becoming more popular in the event of a break-up but those who intend to stick to their vows “until death do us part” should also think about what happens on their death.
For those who remarry and don’t make a new will, the law dictates what happens on their behalf by applying a set of rules called Intestacy. If there are children involved, your new spouse will currently* get the first £250,000 whilst the rest is split into half and one share will be held on trust equally for any minor children until they attain the age of 18. The remaining half share will be held on a life interest trust whereby the surviving spouse will be entitled to the income for the rest of their life and after their death, the remaining capital will be held equally for the deceased’s children in equal shares. If your estate is less than £250,000 then your spouse will inherit everything and your children, nothing!
You may have already informally agreed to ensure an equal split between your respective children upon the survivor’s death but circumstances change which may mean they can’t keep their promise. For example: a further remarriage, going into care, becoming bankrupt or a fall out with your children which may lead to your spouse changing their will in order to leave everything to their children.
Issues like these can leave families in dispute or even worse, resenting each other. To avoid these issues and to have peace of mind that everything is in capable hands after you go, it is advisable to obtain advice from your solicitor.
For help on balancing your estate or other issues relating to your will or trusts, please speak to our Wills and Wealth planning team on 01625 442148.
*please note there are proposed changes to the rules as at the date of this posting.