|For those getting married for a second time, planning a new will can present issues, particularly with regard to children from a previous relationship. It is also the case that many people, marrying for the second time, are unaware of the affect that their new union will have on their existing will. Here, we explain the impacts and how to plan accordingly.
If you are getting married for the second time, it’s very important to know the following:
For England and Wales, these inheritance laws apply regardless of whether you are entering your first, second or third marriage. Under the ‘Rules of Intestacy’, your spouse is given priority over your children making him or her the main Beneficiary.
It is therefore very important to consider making a new Will when you get married. You also need to think very carefully about how to word your Will; particularly if you have children from a previous relationship. Commonly, people who have re-married say they want to leave everything to each other, then when the second person dies, share everything equally amongst their children. However, if you die first, how can you be sure that this will actually happen?
You need to be aware that after your death, your spouse is perfectly entitled to change their Will, re-marry or have further children with a different partner. Your spouse have to respect any verbal understanding you might have had and can remove your children as beneficiaries from their Will. Even with the best of intentions, your spouse might incur significant debts during their lifetime, such as care home fees, which could significantly reduce your children’s inheritance.
If you have children from a previous relationship, you need to make a Will that protects their interests whilst providing for your spouse. This is where ‘Trust Wills’ come in.
The most common will trusts are ‘Life Interest’ or ‘Property Trusts.’ If you put your assets in a trust, they are kept separate to your spouse’s assets, so they can’t be given away under their Will. You can set up a trust that lets your spouse benefit from your assets during their lifetime but, after their death, they will be distributed to your children (or whoever you choose). Example: you could give your spouse a life interest in your house, meaning they could live out their days there. When they die, the house would be passed onto your children.
For further information on Will Trusts please get in touch.