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Remarriage in Later Life Risks Sideways Disinheritance

Older couple getting married

According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), more people are getting married at a later stage in life. The number of brides and grooms aged over 65 increased by 46% in ten years, from 2004 to 2014.

What’s more, in 2014, only 8% of couples aged 65 or older were getting married for the first time. With more people now getting married for the second or third time, children from their previous relationships are at risk of losing their inheritance.

Research from the ONS suggests that they would need financial protection if the partner from the new relationship already had a family. This is due to a process called ‘sideways disinheritance’. For example, if you pass away and your partner remarries, your legacy could go to their spouse rather than your own children when they die. One of our consultants, Ian Boyle, explains more about this in the video below.

By making a Will, you can ensure that your assets are distributed as you wish once the time comes. Shockingly, 25% of adults over 55 in the UK haven’t written a Will, and so risk their children’s inheritance. Furthermore, on average, only 34% of people between 35 and 54 have an up-to-date Will which represents their current situation.

Because modern family relationships can often be complex, it’s essential to make regular updates to your Will and ensure that it takes all of your life events into account, such as:

  • Marriage or divorce
  • The birth of a child or grandchild
  • The death of an Executor
  • Changes to your beneficiaries
  • Wanting to leave a charitable legacy

If your Will is outdated when you pass away, your children from a previous marriage could lose their inheritance. This may mean that they have to go to court to make an inheritance claim, a process which could cause stress and worry at an already emotional time.

As well as writing a Will, you can make a Trust to protect a lump sum for your loved ones. It allows you to ‘lock away’ money for your children, and you can even specify when you want your beneficiaries to inherit. Because assets placed in the Trust no longer belong to you, this can also reduce your Inheritance Tax bill.

The Society of Trust and Estate Planners (STEP) have found that more than half of their members have seen an increase in the use of Trusts in the past five years. They explain that as well as protecting children’s inheritance, Trusts can provide for a spouse and other vulnerable, dependent relatives after a death.

Our consultants are experts in making Wills and Trusts. We can help you every step of the way to ensure that your family inherit exactly as you wish, and avoid sideways disinheritance. Find out more and contact us here.