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Wills are vital for second marriages

Couples entering into a second marriage are being reminded of the importance of having a Will in place, particularly when there are children from a previous marriage involved.

Any current Will is revoked by a second marriage and it is important to give careful thought to the new Will.

Tom Bradfield, a private capital solicitor in our Bristol team, said: “Second and third marriages and blended families are prevalent in the UK today which makes decisions around who should have what upon death very complex.

“That’s why having a Will in place in the event of a second marriage is vital to ensure your money and assets go to exactly who you want it to. It takes all the stress away from your loved ones later down the line and means conflict is less likely.

“A compromise adopted by many is to leave the estate in a trust. This means the spouse receives an income for their lifetime with trustees having the power to advance capital to them at the trustees’ discretion. Capital is otherwise preserved for children who would receive it after the step-parent’s death.

“If children receive no financial provision they have a potential claim against the estate. This would apply especially if they have been receiving maintenance from the deceased parent, although in a recent case a deceased’s children who had not been maintained by, or had any contact with their late father for several years before his death, were successful in a claim against his estate.

“Writing a Will is a simple and affordable step to ensuring there are no problems after you die and your loved ones receive the maximum amount of money due to them.”

If there is no Will in place all assets would pass under intestacy rules which means the deceased’s current spouse receives a payment of £270,000 plus half of the remainder of assets. The other half would go to any children.

The surviving spouse could leave any assets they have inherited, including any joint assets, to whomever they choose, so in this case children could lose out.

Alternatively, intestacy provision may be insufficient for the surviving spouse and if children are under 18 or the spouse has a difficult relationship with adult step-children it may not be possible to change this.

We recently developed a free, online tool called ‘Which Will?’ to assist people looking into making or updating a Will. The tool prompts the user to think about what is important to them when making a Will and recommends which Will best meets their needs.

The tool covers all considerations including businesses, homes and children and generates a free report for the user who can then go and seek further legal advice.

Tom continued: “Our Which Will tool is a great place to start when thinking about making a Will, we’ve compiled all the information you need in one place, meaning you don’t have to complete numerous internet searches.”

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