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Step families & wills

(11 Posts)
carmen66 Mon 24-Mar-14 12:37:52

Hi, I may have to speak to a family lawyer but maybe someone may have advice.. My husband has 3 grown up kids from a previous relationship he was never married to their mother.I met my husband 2 years after they split up so I wasn't the cause of the breakdown. The two daughters turned against the father because the mother was constantly dripping the poisen they haven't spoken in about 7 years now although my hubby is in contact with his son .. My hubby & I now have an 8 year old & have bought a house I am a stay at home mum but my name is on the land registry for the house in joint names.. My hubby also has a pension & savings we had a will drawn up a few years ago he has left everything to me & put some money aside for his son. It's a sad situation but my hubby wrote a letter by hand in about 2007 stating that his two daughters disowned him & that they werenot to receive anything in the will.. When we got married in 2004 my hubby sad as it sounds had me sign a prenup that in the event of us splitting up I wouldn't be entitled to his pension he has left this at his parents house somewhere that he cant remember it worries me that this could get into the wrong hands although we are in a happy relationship I would never take what wasn't mine.

I'm getting older now & it really worries me that if anything should god forbid happen to my husband that his kids would fight me for our house & money or if anything happened to both of us my child would have to deal with them.
Has anybody been through this or have a any advice.. I do appreciate that anyone can contest a will but I'm just wondering where I stand .Thankyou for reading

MorrisZapp Mon 24-Mar-14 12:41:41

Which country are you in?

carmen66 Mon 24-Mar-14 13:02:59

I'm in England MorrisZapp .

SpringBreak Mon 24-Mar-14 13:10:05

are the daughters financially dependent on him even though they do not speak? ie, is he still paying maintenance for them? has he made any other financial provision for them and would there therefore be any hint of a presumption that they're financially dependent on him regardless of the fact they don't see each other?

carmen66 Mon 24-Mar-14 13:13:11

Their both in their mid 20's & have finished their education Springbreak my OH just supports his youngest son .

purpleroses Mon 24-Mar-14 13:15:50

I think you might be best posting in legal.

But my understanding of it is that you are legally entiteld to leave your money to whoever you want in the UK. If you don't want to leave it to someone who might normally expect to inherit (eg your DH's DDs) then it's a good idea to make a note explaining that you intend to leave them nothing - exactly as your DH has done. So I think you should be fine.

The pre-nup would only come into things if you got divorced. If he dies, you may still be entitled to some of his pension, depending what the rules of his pension are in terms of widow's pensions.

To be safe, both your will and your DH's should probably state what is to happen if you both die together - ie some money to DSS and the rest in trust to DD presumably. Your DD wouldn't have to deal with anyone directly who was challenging your will - that would be done by whoever is the executers and was managing the trust fund for her. Probably good to make sure they are someone you trust who understands why your DH has not left anything to his DDs.

SpringBreak Mon 24-Mar-14 13:16:07

well my hard legal experience of these situations is a little out of date but even keeping up via newspaper reporting, in the UK a claim needs to demonstrate a reasonable expectation of continued financial support. So if there's no financial support for years running up to death , then it would be a very bold (pointless?) claim. I assume he's not going to start sending them large cheques every now & then... & provided he doesn't, then the situation for them should be straightforward (though rather sad, given that it sounds like these children were never given the opportunity to know the truth and have a relationship with their father)

BranchingOut Mon 24-Mar-14 13:19:22

Well, anyone can decide to leave their worldly goods to whomsoever they choose.

If you own the house as joint tennants then obviously that is one form of protection.

In my opinion, the right thing to do would probably be to still make provision for his daughters in his will, alongside his son and your child together: he fathered them and, regardless of the ups-and-downs of relationships, has some ongoing duty towards them even though they are adults.

I have seen a couple of wills play out now and each time devastating heartache has been caused when people decide against a fair distribution of assets. Also, the effects are often not what you might predict.

carmen66 Mon 24-Mar-14 17:41:29

Thankyou all for your advice, as it stands my oh hasn't made provisions for his Daughters in his will unless something should happen to us & our daughter.. People tend to keep their distance for years until a death & then it's all about what they think that their entitled to when it come's to money..
Our house is in joint names other savings are left to me to support our daughter who is still a young child in education..
I just wanted to know if anyone has been through the same situation & if my husbands kids could contest me in the will I would dread to lose my house smile

daisychain01 Tue 25-Mar-14 08:46:23

Carmen I am reasonably certain the DDs would not have any claim on your house either during your lifetime (in the event of your DHs death) because it is your primary dwelling and marital home, or if you subsequently die after your DH, where it is stipulated in your will how the money should be distributed. So you would not be faced with the scenario of the DDs forcing you to sell your house to liquidate their perceived asset claim, because they would not have any justification and I dont think it would even get to court.

The only problem I could see of branchingout suggestion to make provision for the DDs is that unless you make it an exact 4 way split between your offspring, it could open a can of worms and opens the door to the DDs making a claim if they dont feeling they are getting a fair share. If your DH is not leaving them anything and documenting the reasons why, at least it is clearly stating his intentions. The law doesn't handle ambiguity particularly well unless it is clearly documented (and even then it can be the subject of contention).

I am aware that in France, offspring have a strong claim on parental assets, based on their rights as the children. Less so in UK.

JaneinReading Tue 25-Mar-14 14:15:31

purpleroses summarises the position correctly. The adult daughters are not being supported so if the father dies and he has chosen not to give them anything that is up to him. I think it's probably morally wrong and he should divide the son's share with the girls but that is up to him. There is nothing to stop the whole family after death agreeing a variation of the will but you would have to consent to that.

The prenup in the event of divorce as regards his pension will probably not be enforceable but if he dies it is possible the pension will pay out to you if he buys an annuity with spouse cover if he died once he is drawing his pension. So do get involved with the type of annuity (or other pension) he takes on retirement as it will affect you after his death. If your financial position appears a bit worrying might be worth trying to up your own income from work too.

If anyone my age (over 40) remarries and has children already and won't have more in the second marriage my view is that they should leave everything to the children only which is what I would do but that is on the basis there are no children of the new family and both of you work full time which is not your situation.

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