There are a large number of people who have been married more than once and who have children from previous marriages or relationships.
It is important to understand how the law works if you die without leaving a Will in this situation. A marriage automatically revokes any existing Will unless that Will was made in contemplation of marriage.
If you remarry and do not remake a Will, when you die leaving this second spouse and children from a previous relationship and perhaps children from the current marriage; your estate will be distributed under the Intestacy Rules. Your new spouse will inherit the first £250,000 of your estate. The remaining value of your estate is then split into two. The new spouse will inherit the first share outright and the second share will pass to your children equally.
Depending on the value of your estate, your new spouse could potentially inherit the whole of your estate with nothing passing to your children.
You must review your circumstances and make a Will after re-marriage or in contemplation of that marriage.
You should also consider that if you and your new spouse make mirror image Wills, there is nothing to stop your spouse from changing their Will at any time after your death.
To protect your children you could consider including a trust in your Will. There are various types of trust; in particular, a life interest trust or right of residence. This allows for your new spouse to benefit from the trust assets during their lifetime, but after their death, the assets can pass to your children. This ring fences the assets in the trust from your spouse’s assets so that the trust assets cannot be given away under their Will.
The usual asset to place in such a trust is your share of your property. It is important that if you own the property jointly that you hold as tenants in common. This means that both owners have their own individual share in the property which would pass under the terms of their respective Wills rather than pass automatically by survivorship to the surviving spouse.
Our will writing team can provide guidance, explaining how to ensure that you provide for your loved ones after your death.
Legal Executive Wills Trust & Probate