children's inheritance

How To Protect Your Children’s Inheritance

Linkilaw Family Law

Every loving parent will go out of his or her way to make sure that his or her kids have the brightest future possible. And while most parents mean well, sometimes they make inadvertent mistakes that can tamper with their children’s ability to have the best prospects in life. 

This is why you need to understand how to protect your children’s inheritance and steps to take.

Are You Familiar With Mirror Wills?

Lots of couples opt out for the so-called “Mirror Will.” Mirror Wills are in essence identical wills that a couple uses regarding their estate when they have similar wishes. Each person appoints a person that her or she trusts as executor of their estate who will deal their estate when they die. A mirror will allows each person to leave the bulk of their estate to the other person and/or to the same people when they both pass away.

While seemingly simple, mirror wills can complicate the question of a child’s inheritance should one partner die and the other remarry. “The number of people marrying for the second time or even third time is higher than ever, but can bring difficult decisions. Second marriages often leave spouses torn between the need to provide for their present partner and ensure that children from their previous marriage receive an inheritance.”, comments solicitor Ben Parmenter.

In short, if your partner remarries after your death, the will you made together gets revoked, and their new partner will be first in line for the inheritance, leaving your kids short-sleeved. It’s crucial you understand the implications of a mirror will on your children’s inheritance and take steps to do something about it.

Stepchildren

If you have children from a previous relationship, that only tangles things up more. It’s possible your surviving partner will not want to provide for the children from your previous marriage. Unless they are legally adopted by your partner, the kids will not be eligible to get access to your inheritance under intestacy rules (that is, the laws that say who a person’s property goes to if a person doesn’t leave a will).

You should also bear in mind that, even if your partner does remarry and makes a will leaving everything to the children from your marriage, this will lead to the disinheriting of their new partner, and thus cause potential issues. April King explains why: “The new partner can make a claim under the Inheritance Act on the basis that the will does not make ‘reasonable provision’ for them. The Court may decide to award the new partner a substantial portion of the estate, regardless of what the will says.”

The Best Ways To Protect Your Kids’ Inheritance

The deceased person’s “estate” is basically all they own, including their personal possessions, money, real estate, shares, etc. However, please note that this does not include possessions owned jointly with a partner – when one of them dies, the other becomes the sole owner. This is why, when it comes to owning property together, it’s better to opt out of the “tenants in common” option; that is to say, you each have a separate ownership share that you can then pass on to your kids (or anyone else of your choosing).

Another foolproof option is to set up a trust, and state in your will that your money should be distributed according to the stipulations of the trust. By doing this, your money will remain protected, as only the beneficiary can get access. Yes, we know what you are thinking – trusts are expensive and only for the super wealthy. This, however, is really not the case. Especially when you consider the protection and guarantee that a trust will provide your children, you will soon realise this is the kind of money spent that brings with it a priceless piece of mind.

This is perhaps the most effective way to legally ensure your children’s inheritance is protected no matter what.

Got Questions About Your Children’s Inheritance?

If you’ve got some pressing questions about your children’s inheritance that you need answers to then get in touch with us. We’ll get you a range of free quotes from qualified lawyers so you can choose the best one for your specific circumstances and budget. 

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