Beware! Your Children Could be Disinherited!

Pretty well all parents wish to pass on their assets to their children once they’ve gone. After a lifetime of toil the biggest asset is normally the family home.

It’s an awful thought that the parents’ home should end up in somebody else’s hands. All too often, it does!Here’s how it can happen:

John had been married for 26 years when he died, aged 56. He left his wife Ann (aged 48) and daughter, Sally (aged 22). Ann inherited all of his estate which included the family home worth £57,000. Although devastated by their loss, life went on.

After 5 years Ann was remarried, to Tony. Due to an expensive divorce Tony had little capital. However his job provided a good salary. They decided to buy a house together in joint names and to write their wills. They decide the most equitable way was to leave each other their estate when the first of them died. Following the second spouse death the whole estate would pass in equal shares to the children i.e. 50% to Ann’s daughter Sally and 50% to Tony’s two children.

Ann and Tony enjoyed the next 14 years together. Tony’s salary and Ann’s part time job provided them with a comfortable lifestyle. Even after Tony retired his pension was sufficient to maintain their lifestyle, particularly now that the mortgage had been paid off.

Sadly, Ann died aged 67. Tony inherited the estate. Over the coming months and years the memory of Ann’s death became less and less painful and he began to enjoy his life again and really loved spoiling his grandchildren. However, he saw hardly anything of his step daughter Sally especially after they moved away because of her husband’s job. As for her children, he’d seen them only twice.

Increasingly he felt his house, now worth over £400,000, should go to his children. After all he had paid the hefty mortgage repayments and made all the improvements to enhance the value of the house!

Tony decided to write a new will leaving everything to his children except for a £20,000 gift to Sally.

Although Sally felt cheated and emotionally devastated there was legally nothing she could do.

Without the correct legal advice it’s all too easy to fall into this or a similar situation.

Should you fall into any of the following categories it would make sense to seek proper advice when making a will:

  • Unmarried couples owning/buying a home together
  • Any couple with children from a previous relationship
  • Couples with a large age difference
  • If you are concerned as to what might happen following a divorce/separation
  • If the statistics of how many marriages fail worry you
  • If you think your partner may get married again after your death
  • Should you wish to guarantee your half of your home passes to your children or any other specified individual or charity whatever happens in the future

Here is what you should do:

Speak to a professional who will ensure he/she fully understands your wishes and circumstances. By including a special Trust within your Will you can totally guarantee your children or other specified beneficiary inherit your share of the home whilst ensuring your spouse/partner has a legal right to live in the property for their lifetime or specified time or event.

Remember, you probably jointly own your home. This means whatever your will says your home will automatically pass to your partner should you die. A professional will sort this out for you.

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