With almost half of marriages ending in divorce and the increase in second marriages, the subsequent – ‘blended family’, creates its own unique problems in succession terms. The risk of a premature death all too often goes hand in hand with little thought for how the various family members will be provided for.
The legal position amongst advocates, is colloquially known as ‘sideways disinheritance’. It is caused where a Will, made subsequent to marriage does not account for the probability of a re-marriage of the surviving spouse post the death of one of them. The result is that the children of the first re-married spouse to die are dis-inherited ‘by-law of intestacy’.
In each of the ‘blended family’ categories the main breadwinner – often the male partner – has created an immediate and long-term legal obligation that he little understands, or sometimes cares about. He takes the hearsay view that ‘regular family’ rules still apply and doesn’t need to worry.
The equation has many dimensions, and the children of a previous relationship need to have their interests protected, without it impacting on the needs of the current spouse and children if significant legal issues are to be avoided. For example:
- Will planning needs to recognise the present and future needs of all family members.
- Plans of succession must protect the children of a previous relationship without showing ‘distrust’ in the new spouse.
- Each beneficiary’s affairs must satisfy the most tax effective route possible.
- Will Plan strategies must ensure fairness to all without affecting right of occupancy in the matrimonial home.
This is a HIGHLY SPECIALISED area of inheritance law. The good news is that Edmunds & Eve will highlight all the strands of this intricate web for you, to realise a solution that all are content with, and hence avoid the costs of consequence and assumption.