Stepfamilies: The Need for Tailor-Made Wills.
Sarah and George came to see me last month to make new wills. For both of them it was a second marriage and they each had children from their first marriages who spent part of their time with them and part of their time with their other parents.
Making a will for a “new” family with children from various relationships is more complex than for the traditional family situation. In the latter case there may be a few discussions about who to appoint executors; and probably more importantly who should be guardians to look after young children. However most people are happy to leave everything to their wife or husband and then to their children if both die.
It is much more difficult to advise stepfamilies. There may be only a limited amount of money to split between a number of children. If for example George leaves everything to Sarah then his children from his first marriage who are still at school or university (or otherwise dependent upon him) could make a claim against his estate. How successful they are depends upon a number of factors – such as how much was in his estate; and the relative means and needs of the various beneficiaries. If they are not careful more of his estate will disappear in legal fees than end up with the beneficiaries.
As the children get older and become more independent the possibilities of a claim may reduce although most people will want all their children to benefit. You may find that life insurance written in trust for your children will satisfy their needs if you die prematurely.
If you are in a similar position to Sarah & George 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.