Dorset Family Law

To have a Trust or just to trust, that is the question…

Making a Will can be a daunting process, but for many – especially those with blended families – it is an opportunity to provide peace of mind.

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Forming a new relationship can provide a dilemma for those considering their legacy. How do you provide for your current partner and your children from a previous relationship? Wills are automatically revoked by marriage. Without a valid Will in force, the rules of intestacy dictate that your current spouse or civil partner (CP) take your personal possessions and the first £270,000 of your assets. Half the balance passes to your spouse/CP and the other half to your children in equal shares. If you are not married, there is no automatic provision for your partner.

What you can do

Doing nothing is not the best solution. Do you both make Wills leaving all your assets to each other initially and then to your respective children in specified shares? This is the simple option, but will there be a breakdown
in relationships? Do you trust

one another to continue to provide for your children? Will your partner make a new Will and disinherit your children? Will your partner re-marry which will revoke their Will anyway? Stepchildren do not benefit under intestacy. Will your partner have mental capacity to make a new Will? Having a Life Interest Trust in your Will enables you to give your partner a right to enjoy an interest in your estate. This could be an interest in all your assets which pass via your Will, or just some of them, such as your home. The Trust can come to an end when your partner dies or if they remarry, or in other stated circumstances. When the Trust ends, your Will says what happens to the assets held in trust. These can simply pass to your children, of course, but the precise arrangements can be fine-tuned to suit your individual circumstances.

We have the experience to advise and to consider inheritance tax implications, as these scenarios can be complex. Everyone’s situation is different, and though it’s not always an easy conversation to have it is so important to plan ahead.

For more information, please contact Lucy Horsington, Solicitor lucy.horsington@porterdodson.co.uk or 01935 811136

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