Need help with knowing what's fair with regard to DSS and wills...(38 Posts)
DH and I are looking to get wills written - we should've done it ages ago but kept forgetting
We are thinking of getting mirror wills (i.e. when one of us dies, the other inherits the whole estate) but are struggling with what to do about our children.
DH has a son from a previous relationship and we have a daughter together. DH is planning to split his estate 50:50 between DSS and DD, whereas I'm not sure what to do. I certainly don't want to leave DSS out of my will but I am aware that he also has his mum's side of the family to inherit from whereas DD will inherit solely from DH and I.
I was thinking maybe an 80:20 split of my estate between DD and DSS? So overall that'd mean that DD got 65% of our combined estate and DSS would get 35%.
However DH is a little hesitant about this because he's always tried to treat DSS and DD equally and he's worried that because we both work, have savings and own property, that DD will be much better off than DSS whose mum and stepdad are not in work and therefore unable to save etc so DSS won't inherit much from them.
My argument to DH is that if one of us ends up needing care then that could wipe out all of our inheritance anyway so how much it's looking likely to be may be irrelevant, and that although I don't want to leave DSS out of my will, I just don't feel like it's fair on DD if her mum's estate is shared but his mum's isn't...?
Not sure if all that makes sense and I hate even thinking about things like this. I realise that it's my estate and I can do what I want with it but it's so hard to find an agreement that we both think is fair...opinions please!
I would ask a solicitor, they often come up with a suggestion that you haven't thought about.
It all seems to depend on who dies first. If you die first then DH leaves it equally but if he dies first your joint child gets the bulk.
If I was your DH I would get it drawn up so there is some sort if trust because I would want my children treated equally and wouldn't take into account anything on the mother's side.
That's a good point, I'm sure we're not the first couple that a solicitor will have seen in this position!
I would 100% honour anything that DH put into his will regarding DSS, as would DH regarding my wishes so no worries there about who dies first as the eventual outcome would be the same whichever way it happens.
From your point if view you might want to have monies set aside for your DC before you do the share out. Only a solicitor could sort it and it must, as CB says, be a common problem.
I think it's hard to say you'd honour whatever your DP wanted in his will if you were to outlive him by several decades. It's hard to know what would happen to your life - new DH, maybe even new DCs, grandchildren, needing care, drifting apart from DSS and not really feeling like family to him any more, inheriting money yourself that gets pooled with your joint finances, etc, etc. Might be better if you can to separate off the money he wants to leave to DSS and leave it direct, and then the money he leaves to you is agreed to be for you to leave as you wish - ie probably all to DD. But that's obviously not so good if it would see you out of a home in the meantime.
I am very clinical about this - DSS is not your financial responsibility. As you say he has his mother's family to inherit from. If DSS's mother was wealthy would DH reduce DSS's share of his estate to makeit fair on your DD? I suggest he would not. If your parents leave you an inheritance would they be happy for 20% of it to go to DSS or would they want it to all go to their GC?
I think it should go your DH 50:50 between his kids (or equal portions if you have more kids) and your estate goes to your DD. if you want to leave DSS something you could leave him a fixed sum and/or items you know he would value, but I wouldn't leave him a percentage.
Did you bring up your DP's son, or only know him as an adult?
Maybe you could leave DSS 50$ of your DP's share and 20% of yours. I think you should honour your DP's view about treating both children equally.
I think the issue of other relatives is a red herring.
While your DSS will have his mother's side to inherit from, it sounds like the will inherit nothing from them as they don't actually have anything. Therefore in terms of how much they inherit, your plan would leave them unevenly provided for.
DH and I have spoken about this and thankfully he agrees with me. His will be split between his 5 children and mine with my 4. Reason being that the DSC will have off their mum's side too.
DH understands this and has openly said he doesn't expect me to include the DSC in mine - as I don't expect him to include my DD in his.
It depends really when you became involved in DSS's life, and how much time he lives with you. If you've had him living with you for most of the time since he was a young child, it's very different to alternate weekends as a late teenager or only meeting him as an adult.
Yes totally agree Deer. If it was the former, you should treat him as your child.
I can see your point, Deer. If DSC are residing with you and you have practically been involved in their day to day upbringing from a very young age then the dynamic of a will is slightly different.
And wills are not just about money. They are often emotional too. So if a child had been brought up in your home and you ignored them in the will or tteated them less favourably than your biological children, they may understandably interpret that as they are less important to you and less loved.
I am with your DP. You are treating your DSD different to your own two children and thus saying that DSD is much less important to you.
It all depends on how you want the siblings to regard each other when you are both gone. what you do will effect that,
I have been with my husband since my eldest was two, he has left everything split equally between all three children, he and DS1 think of each other as family, DS1 may or may not get something from else where, we do not know, so DH wants to make sure it is all fair.
I've seen some really horrid fallings out over the years, in split families, so we decided to keep it fair.
DS1 would never say anything, but I know he would be really hurt and feel rejected, if he got left out in anyway, we would never risk his ever feeling sad about anything. He adores his siblings, and we hope when we are gone they will keep up good relationships, I would hate to jeopardise that in anyway. I can't imagine his siblings resenting him being included in anything.
It's only money, feeling are far more important.
My dh and I have mirror wills, if I die first it all goes to dh bar specifics like my engagement ring which I have left to my dd and vice versa for my dh. I have a dss and he is included in the will and when the last parent dies the estate gets split equally between all three children. My view being that I married my dh knowing and accepting that he had a son, they came as a package, my dss will inherit eventually of his mum and it could make him better off than my children but so be it. It does help that my dss has always been a delightful lad and who is now turning into a lovely young man, for which his mother (even though we don't really get on) has done a fabulous job, he also loves his brother and sister and they think he is the best thing since sliced bread! Maybe if he was an absolute git I would think very differently.
I think if you've raised children, biological/step/whatever, you should treat them equally. The difference is if a step child is/was entirely/almost entirely raised by the other parent.
DSD spends her time split between 2 different households. Presumably her mum's boys don't spend time split between two different households? So it is not comparable.
I am with Deer. If you raise a child, you treat them all the same. Wills cause so much upset. And often it is not so much about the money, but simply people thinking that means they weren't loved as much or as important to those who died, because they were left out of the will.
We've not long done ours (thanks to the MNer Mumblechum, who provides an excellent service btw )
DH and I are split 50/50. His 50% is divided between DSD and DD. My 50% goes to DD. Unless we both die when DD is under 18, in which case DSD has a smaller % and the remaining monies go to DDs guardian to bring her up.
DSD is an adult now, so it was a lot easier to justify. It would have been harder if she was also a child. But I still think we would have gone with the % split. As much as I love her, it's not up to me to provide for DSD, she has a mum of her own for that.
Oh, and you can get a paragraph added to a will that purposefully explains why the will is written as it is, explains that it has nothing to do with how 'loved' the recipients are. But rather how 'fair' it is to be split that way (again, thanks to Mumblechum for adding and explaining this)
I would be gutted if my parents treated my step brothers like this.
But your will, up to you.
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