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Wills and step children

(16 Posts)
LadyFarnborough Fri 12-Aug-16 12:08:24

Always a contentious subject.

Background:
-OH and I have been together 4 years. Soon to be married and baby on the way
- he has 2 children from a previous relationship that live with us, aged 22 and 18
- Don't currently own property together but will be buying a house towards the end of the year
- large deposit to be put down on the house purchase, split equally.

So how on earth do we go about sorting wills?
His children are adults, I've not been a mother figure to them. They have a mother. We have a very good relationship but it's not a parenting role due to their ages when I came into their lives.

How do we split the estates? If I die first and leave everything to my OH, I don't want his estate to be then be split equally between the 3 children when he eventually dies as my step children will be benefitting from what I accumulated before the relationship (I have a decent equity in a property bought 10 years ago). So do I leave all to him and he then leaves a larger proportion to our child with the rest split between his two.
Or do I leave half to OH, half to our child and his estate then gets split equally between all three when he dies?

I guess if he dies first it's easier - half the estate to me which would eventually pass to our child and then the other half split between his oldest. Or something.

Too many variables for me to get my head round. Has anyone else had a similar situation?

titchy Fri 12-Aug-16 12:18:54

Hold the property as tenants in common rather than joint tenants. You leave your share to your child. He leaves his to be split between his three children. Each of you has a life interest in the property so it can't be sold until the death of the surviving spouse (or cohabitation or if they want to sell etc.) so the survivor won't be homeless.

titchy Fri 12-Aug-16 12:21:11

Make sure you have life insurance payable to each other so the mortgage gets paid off.

cdtaylornats Fri 12-Aug-16 13:38:53

I guess if he dies first it's easier

Easier for you, he may feel differently grin

LadyFarnborough Fri 12-Aug-16 13:43:55

Perfect thank you. Hadn't even realised there were different ways to own the house.

Ha yes, probably more clear cut if he goes first!

prettybird Fri 12-Aug-16 14:59:47

Are you in England? The inheritance laws are different in Scotland.

LadyFarnborough Fri 12-Aug-16 15:11:43

Yes prettybird, am in England.

Mumblechum0 Sat 13-Aug-16 16:14:25

I run a willwriting business, and this is a very common issue.

Given your circumstances I'd advise that your home is held as tenants in common in whatever shares you agree.

Your wills should include life interest trusts for the home. Essentially, that means that, rather than giving everything to one another on the first death, you give your respective shares in the house to your trustees to hold on trust for the children. You could say that your share goes to just your one joint child, and your husband's will divides his share between all of his children, either equally or not (his older 2 will presumably inherit from their mother too).

During the time between the two deaths, the survivor carries on living in the house, and when they die or remarry, the trust comes to an end, the house is sold and the proceeds divided as directed in the wills.

The survivor can move during the trust period, and the trust then applies to the new property.

The rest of the estate (savings, shares etc) usually passes to the survivor outright.

Feel free to ask if you need any further info.

LadyFarnborough Sat 13-Aug-16 18:26:11

Mumble, thank you that is very helpful. And actually more straightforward than I thought. I had been tying myself up in knots trying to work out the different variations and way to do things depending on who went first.

ImperialBlether Sat 13-Aug-16 18:29:45

MC, what happens to the children's share if the surviving parent needs to go into a home?

Mumblechum0 Sat 13-Aug-16 22:40:48

imperial, if the survivor needs care, then the local authority can attach that person's share (over a threshold of around £19k), to cover their care, but the first to die's share is safe for the children.

The alternative is that all of the value of the house over the threshold is up for grabs by the authority, so making an LIT will protect (usually) half as a minimum.

Mumblechum0 Mon 15-Aug-16 11:00:28

By the way, OP, as there's a big age gap between the two sets of children, I'd advise that the younger ones receive a higher proportion, on the basis that they'll be dependent for longer (in order to avoid the risk of a claim against the estate for inadequate provision). Then, when the younger ones are about 21, you should amend the will so that the children all receive more equal shares.

LadyFarnborough Mon 15-Aug-16 14:38:46

Thank you mumble. Really helpful!

Mumblechum0 Mon 15-Aug-16 22:19:37

V welcome!

HereIAm20 Tue 23-Aug-16 16:56:24

We have this issue in that we each have a child from previous marriages and one together. Husband wanted it to be split 3 ways initially until I pointed out that our older children would possibly inherit from their other parents so now his half goes to his DS and our DS and my half goes to my DS and our DS, thus older 2 get 1/2 of their parents share (ie 1/4) and youngest gets 1/2 of each parents share (ie 1/2).

We are still holding as joint tenants but will trust the other to do the right thing by them. Depends if you can trust them.

Mumblechum0 Tue 23-Aug-16 18:07:40

I absolutely agree, HereIAm, sounds like you were well advised.

So far as trusting each other is concerned, the only thing I'd suggest you consider is the fact that if the survivor of you goes on to remarry, the wills you have now will automatically be revoked. So you do need to have confidence that the survivor would make a new will at that point to avoid the new spouse inheriting the children's estate under the intestacy rules.

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