Ann came to see me last week to talk about her Will. She had two children Sophie and Jude and she was concerned as she did not get on with Sophie’s husband Terry. She found her son in law to be rude and controlling and he had always been bad with his money, recently using a large chunk of their joint savings to buy a second car.
Ann was concerned about leaving money to Sophie as she did not trust Terry with it – she wanted to ensure that her assets would go directly to her children and grandchildren after her death. This is a common problem – although they may not specifically wish to exclude their child’s partner, many people wish to ring-fence assets for them, ensuring that in case of divorce or death such assets are protected from their daughter/son in law.
There are a number of ways to safeguard your assets. The first is to leave them directly to your grandchildren – effectively skipping a generation. This can be an efficient measure when your adult children are financially solvent, and if this is done through a Trust it has strong tax-planning benefits where your estate will be subject to inheritance tax. By appointing your child as Trustee you can ensure that they have control over what these assets are used for. Unfortunately Sophie had large debts which Ann wanted to help her with, so this was not a viable option for them.
Another option is to leave your assets in Trust to your children – although this does not protect the assets quite so completely (a trust will still be taken into account should your child divorce) it does add a layer of protection. Ann felt that this was the most suitable option for her family as it afforded her some protection whilst allowing her to ensure that her children will be financially secure.
If you are in a similar position to Ann make sure that you get good advice drawing up your will. You can contact Rosalind Watchorn Solicitors Sheffield to discuss your situation in a free initial consultation with a member of our wills team. Call 0114 229 0160 for an initial meeting without commitment – we can provide home-visits if you are housebound.