More than one marriage
What do you do if this is your second marriage and you have children from your first marriage? If you do not have a Will, under the intestacy rules, your second spouse will inherit your possessions, the first £250,000 of your estate and half the remainder of your estate and your children will receive the balance.
Under the intestacy rules, your children from your first marriage are not entitled to inherit from your second spouse. After your death your second spouse is free to make a new Will and leave the assets they inherited from you to whoever they wish.
If your second spouse inherits your assets and then subsequently remarries, the intestacy rules on their subsequent death will leave all or most of their assets to their new spouse and not your children.
By using trusts it is possible to benefit your spouse both as to income and some capital (as needed) whilst ring fencing all or the majority of your capital for your children on your second spouse’s death. We call this our Complex Family Will.
If you and your partner are not married or in a civil partnership, and your partner is not included in a Will, they have no automatic right to inherit from your estate. This applies even if you have lived together for a long time or have children together. Your partner will receive nothing unless you include them in your Will.
The options open to them are limited and expensive. They could make a claim against your estate, but the legal costs of such an action could be as high as £100,000 and that is usually payable from your estate if your partner is successful. If your Will gifts everything to your partner directly, your estate is taxed at 40% above the nil rate band, currently £325,000. It is then added to your partner’s estate and taxed again on their death. This can mean that before the value of your assets is passed to your children (for example) after your partner’s death, it has suffered up to 80% tax. This is because partners are treated less favourably than spouses.
We have a solution to this problem that can double the tax relief available to your combined estates with the use of trusts in your Wills, delivering a tax saving of up to £130,000. We call this our Living Together Will.
For more information on how to protect your dependants through your Will please contact our private client legal teams to arrange an initial, no obligation consultation. Please call our Chislehurst office on 020 8295 1989, for our Bromley office, call 020 8464 4242, for London call 020 7481 2422 and for any of our Surrey offices call 01372 750100