There needs to be more “awkward” conversations among blended families
Most of us have good parent-child relationships, but for some reason death and money are still the elephant in the room - even though they are probably the most important conversations we need to be having.
According to statistics from Gov.uk, separated families account for 2.5 million of all families in the UK, including 4 million children, representing an increase of 200,000 separated families and 400,000 children since year ending 2020.
The number is rising
Blended families of parents, new partners, children and stepchildren are becoming more common and therefore so is the likelihood of disputes when it comes to inheritance.
You might assume that someone’s assets will automatically pass on to a member of your family when you pass away, but that isn’t strictly true. If you die without a will - something that’s called “dying intestate” - then intestacy rules determine how your estate is divided.
And yes, this could mean your former spouse might be entitled to a share
These intestacy rules state that a spouse is automatically recognised as people who benefit from your estate, followed by any children or grandchildren. This already excludes any step children, plus, it means if you are cohabiting with a new partner - i.e. you are not married to them - then they may also not be entitled to a share, and, if you’re still legally married to an ex, they could stand to inherit.
Also, these rules mean a parent can only be married to a new spouse for a short amount of time for the new spouse and any children to inherit, therefore leaving out any other children from a previous marriage.
A will is more than knowing where you stand
It’s about honouring wishes. Families will want to know that when they pass, all spouses, children and stepchildren will be looked after - and the only way to do that is by keeping your will up to date.
It’s so important to have these conversations with families, even if it feels a little awkward.
If you need to update your will, draft a new one, or seek some advice about a Lasting Powers of Attorney, contact the Private Client team at Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.