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wills for stepfamilies?

(25 Posts)
BeckyS321 Fri 14-Feb-14 10:00:37

Can anyone advise what they would do if they are in a step family about wills?

DH and I have been married 3 years and have a dd together and ds is due in July. DH has 2 DSs from his first marriage and I have a dd from my first. We really need to write a will to make sure that we are each taken care of (both have decent pensions/insurance and have a reasonable amount of equiity in the house and I also still own my flat which I rent out).

We have no clue where to start on what we should do.

wwyd? (have also posted in Money before I realised there was a legal section!)

LtEveDallas Fri 14-Feb-14 10:06:56

My feeling is that you and DH combine your 'equity' into a 100% 'pot'

You then split that 'pot' 50/50.

Your 50% is split between your 3 biological children.
Your DH's 50% is split between his 4 biological children.

It means that the children you have together (DD and DS that is due in July) will have 'more', but the other 3 children (your DD and his 2 DSs) also have the ability to inherit from their other biological parent.

It's a minefield though, so best of luck.

racmun Fri 14-Feb-14 10:08:29

We were in this situation my dh has a son.

After much deliberation we decided that ss would get 1/4 and ds would get 3/4 of our joint assets.

The reasoning is that ds and ss each get 1/2 of their dads share and ds gets all of my half.

Ss will in theory Inherit from his mother.

Any assets which are solely mine such as inheritance or in your case your flat do not go into the pot and are ring fenced for our ds.

BeckyS321 Fri 14-Feb-14 10:13:14

The only problem with that is that we'd want to give everything to each other first off, otherwise if I die my DH will have to sell the house to give my half to my/our children.

But if we give everything to each other first and then my DH remarries his new wife will get everything because I read somewhere that marriage cancels out an existing will.

Help! Any solicitors about?

LtEveDallas Fri 14-Feb-14 10:24:51


Send a PM to the MNer MumbleChum1. She runs a successful will writing business and is shit hot about this sort of thing. She did our wills for us, perfectly, and very reasonably (and we had similar issues to you).

I don't think you need a solicitor, just someone who understands wills.

BeckyS321 Fri 14-Feb-14 10:34:24

Thanks LtEve, I can't find her yet but will keep trying.

Sounds perfect!

crazykat Fri 14-Feb-14 10:38:18

If I were in your position, the pension should go to the surviving spouse. The life insurance for both of you and the house would be split 50/50 with your half split between your biological children and DH half split between his biological children.

Any money made from your flat would be split between your biological children as it was yours before you met your DH.

I can't remember what it's called but there's a way you can set it up so that the surviving spouse has the right to live in the house until death and then it would be sold and the proceeds split with your half split between your bio DCs and DH half split between his bio DCs. This way whoever survives the other doesn't have to sell the house to split the money between the children. I know it can be done as my grandparents did it.

BeckyS321 Fri 14-Feb-14 10:41:42

crazykat thank you! I've found MumbleChum1 one now so have asked her as well .


LtEveDallas Fri 14-Feb-14 10:42:50


here is a link to Mumblechum's small business ad. She was a solicitor as well I believe, so knows her stuff

mumblechum1 Fri 14-Feb-14 10:59:11

LtEveDallas, flowers for the recommendation smile

OP, I recommend that you and your husband make mirror wills incorporating a life interest trust (aka a property protection trust). That way, the survivor is able to remain living in your home (or another home, I usually include a portability clause), until they die or remarry at which point your share of the property will go to your children no matter what the survivor may have decided to do in the meantime.

I write a lot of this type of trust for step families. The other advantage is that it means that if the survivor has to go into a care home, the local authority can only attack that person's share of the equity; the first half is safe.

mumblechum1 Fri 14-Feb-14 15:33:07

Wills for stepfamilies can be an absolute minefield if they aren't very carefully drafted.

MOSagain Sun 16-Feb-14 18:37:24

Another recommendation for mumblechum, money well spent instructing her to draft your wills

mumblechum1 Sun 16-Feb-14 19:05:37

Thank you MOS, especially as you are a fellow lawyer! Good to talk to you yesterday Becky, I've now drafted your will and will email it to you tonight for checking :-)

mumblechum1 Tue 25-Feb-14 14:42:47

I'm also seeing an increasing number of "nuclear families" who are choosing to make Life Interest Trusts as they're concerned about the survivor possibly remarrying and the new spouse getting everything.

School2 Mon 09-Jan-17 09:06:37

I'm hoping someone can offer some advice.

Current situation is myself and boyfriend are looking for house to move in to, however db is buying the house cash with money he has accumulated before we met- db has 2 children from his previous marriage with whom he has a relationship and another child who he has never met but pays maintenance for.
I have 2 children from my previous marriage.
We are due to get married once he has bought the house and that's when I will move in.
It is clear and fair his money invested in the house upon his death his biological children should inherit.
The problem I have is I am concerned that should god forbid something happen to my db (then dh) I have no security in my home as the children will inherit it. is there any way I can continue to live there should anything happen to my dh? I don't want to put myself in a situation where I am homeless with my children.
I don't want the money in the house just security, any guidance appreciated- as you can imaging a difficult conversation between myself a db.

mumblechum0 Mon 09-Jan-17 12:38:48

Hi School, I'd advise you (as for the OP on this thread back in 2014) to consider making life interest trusts to ensure that your respective children receive their fair share of the value of your home, whilst protecting the survivor of you (the survivor can carry on living in the house until they die or marry someone else).

When you buy your home, it should be as tenants in common and your conveyancing solicitor should draw up a declaration of trust.

You also need to make sure that the mortgage would be covered by insurance if the survivor of you couldn't pay it on their own.

MrsBertBibby Mon 09-Jan-17 13:38:12

That solves some problems, mumble, but let's say he dies after 20 years marriage. Would it really be fair, then, for OP to get not a penny from the house? There won't be a mortgage, it's a cash buy.

mumblechum0 Mon 09-Jan-17 16:19:14

Quite Mrs BB, but the declaration of trust I've suggested would get around that problem to some degree (sorry for talking over your head School2)

School2 Mon 09-Jan-17 18:57:21

Thank you mumblechum

Can any solicitor make a life interest trust?

I don't think db will agree but I probably won't be able to move in with him without any security.

mumblechum0 Mon 09-Jan-17 19:53:05

Hi OP, Yes, any solicitor or will writer can make LITs. I make several each month.

Your other main focus should be to get the declaration of trust drawn up, and that will usually be the conveyancing solicitor dealing with the purchase.

School2 Tue 10-Jan-17 13:16:58

thanks again,

we had a stressful conversation yesterday which has led to db saying that although he would like to offer me the protection I require he cant give it. he was unsure so he spoke to his mum for advice and she has said absolutely not. Also I am required to sign an agreement to say that I have no claim to my dh's home (once we are married) .

superram Tue 10-Jan-17 13:24:30

I wouldn't be marrying him then! I get that he has to protect his children but I think there has to be some way (as mumblechim mentioned, she also did our wills) that as part of the deed of trust you should be entitled to an increasing amount as/if the house value increases-you couldn't walk away with nothing after 20 years!

School2 Tue 10-Jan-17 14:35:51

We both were very upset yesterday as it seems the marriage is a long way off now. We went out in the evening and neither of us mentioned the house, but today estate agent called me so we have had to talk about it. He has said the next house we would buy and own together and also if we end up in this house forever he would make changes to his will so I am looked after.

MrsBertBibby Tue 10-Jan-17 16:46:39

What's it got to do with his mother? You're moving into prenup territory here. Don't even think about one of those!

School2 Tue 10-Jan-17 17:31:02

He asks his mum for advice on most things. To be honest he's an amazing boyfriend and I don't intend to create a rift over this issue. I'm gonna have to wait it out I guess.

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