Step Children and Wills / Inheritence(48 Posts)
Just a question about how other people have structured their wills. My DH and I have been married for a year and have a baby due end of Dec. My husband has a 17 year old from a previous marriage who still lives in my husbands previous family home that my husband used to share with his first wife my step childs mother. Three years ago - before we were married with a baby on the way - my husband and I got the opportunity to buy our dream home. I had more equity from a previous marriage so we bought at 70% equity from me and 30% from him. As we are now married I see this to be 50/50 - my husband earns more and pays a bit more mortgage although it is interest only so the equity technically is the same.
We were discussing wills the other day and I was a bit dismayed that my husband was talking as though the property would be split equally between his son and our child if something happened to both of us. Although I now regard the property as 50 / 50 between us as we are married - the way I see it is that he would split his 50% between his two biological children equally and I am worried that I am expected to split my 50% equally between my biological child and his son. My parents and my husbands parents will both leave sums which we intend to use to pay off the mortgage and although I love my step child dearly I know my parents would not intend for half of what they leave to go to a step grand child over their biological grandchild. I tried to explain this to my husband in that if the roles were reversed and the step child were his - I am not sure he would be keen on leaving 50% of his estate to another mans child - especially as that child is already provided for by its mothers household. I do intend to split my 50% between my step son and my biological child - but I do not intend to leave if equally - maybe 10% 40%. What is more difficult is that my step son is financially aware and has made a few comments about how he stands to inherit and when we told him about the baby he was clearly aware of this having a financial impact - which my husband then said to him "don't worry it doesn't change anything with the house". I need to broach this with my husband but am really worried about his reaction as when I mentioned this previously he did not want to discuss it further. I just feel strongly that I would not leave an equal share to my step child over my own child. He spends 2 or 3 nights with us a month and our home is not his family home.
What would be fair (to me) would be your half goes to your DS and your DH's half is split into quarters one for each of his DCs.
I think the thing to point out to your DH is that your joint child will only inherit from the two of you, and (indirectly) from its 4 natural grandparents. Your DSC will also inherit from his own DM and her side of the family, who obviously aren't going to be leaving anything to your joint child. So the fair thing is for your DH's share of your home (I think you're right in seeing it as 50-50 now you're married) to be split between his two children, and for your share to go as you choose - but largely to your own child and just a small bit to your DSC would seem very fair.
Your DH could "clarify" what he has told his DSC by saying that the equity he himself put into the joint home (and a bit more) will be split between his two children but that your share will go to your own child, just as his own DM's money will come to him (plus any other children she has).
Maybe get some legal advice on this. If your DH can legally leave his DS1 50% then I don't know if there's much you can do. I assume you haven't written wills yet?
But if you would give him 10% of your share anyway, taking it up to 60/40, think about how important that remaining share is to you, in the bigger scheme of things.
Plus does his mother own her home? Are her family wealthy, and are they likely to leave to him? Not everyone has generous relatives. I know I won't inherit a penny anywhere!
How do you own the house - joint tenants, or tenants in common with shares? If the former it's 50/50 whether you like it or not and to change it you'd need to take legal steps to sever the joint tenancy and then write an agreement on who owns what % share.
thanks for the advice it seems opinion matches my thinking. I would never contest the share of the house with my husband I see it as 50 / 50 now we are married anyway. But there is a scenario whereby my husband could disinherit me and my child and leave it all to his son but I guess that is the case on both sides and is unlikely as we are hopefully both reasonable people. I just feel a bit exposed as I am keen to resolve this and reach an agreement on both sides. Thanks for the advice.
I am sure that this must be a common problem.I have been through a similar situation regarding step children and joint children. I fully understand that if a considerable sum of family money is passed down the line,that the previous generations would want it to go to their biological heirs. I think that under the circumstances your proposition is a very fair one. Perhaps the best way forward would be to first, have a talk with your husband,and then seek some legal advice from a solicitor.Please be mindful of your husbands loyalty towards his son. I am sure that this can be handled in a sensitive manner, so that everyone will understand the reasoning and be satisfied with the outcome.
my sister is in your position. her and her dh brought equal equity to their recently purchased family home so my sister leaves her 50% to her only child and her dh leaves his 50% to be shared amongst his 3 children. ( ie. their child together and 2 previous children. ) That seems fair to me. The 2 step children will also inherit from their mother and grandparents on her side.
My parents will not leave their estate to us at all, but directly to their natural grandchildren, thereby by-passing step children, who they are very fond of, but are not their blood line iyswim.
My father died recently, he had remarried and had two children with his second wife. He left his wife everything, including property. She has now told me that she is going to leave everything to their two joint children and her son from a previous marriage. I do not think that is fair, but am not going to make a fuss or argue. I adore my half siblings, they are now adults and am not going to spoil that relationship.
You really need to think carefully about your will. What is he dies first, will you need to sell the house to give his DS his share?
You need to get in touch with MumbleChum who runs MarlowWills (she advertises on here) - I had a similar situation as she gave us all the options to consider and discuss. Her will writing is very inexpensive.
Usually you give "living interest" or similar to the surviving spouse so they are not forced to sell their marital home so dc can inherit.
Your share should go 100% to your child.
Your DHs share should be split 50/50 between his 2 children.
May I hijack with a question of my own? My DH has two sons from previous marriage. I have no children. We are yet to write our wills, and my gut feeling is that we look at our joint assets and split them 50/50 - his half goes to the two children, my half goes to wherever I wish (I would actually like to donate all to charity). Is that fair or does it seem wrong for me not to leave anything to my stepchildren? I actually am the main earner and pay the mortgage and paid the deposit on our house, so I think they are already getting well cared for in light of that... But interested in other views. Thank you
Does that mean that of you died your DH and his DC would have no money and have to move?
Personally, I would want to avoid that. I am in a similar situation to you though not married. I have left my half of the house to DP and a % of my other assets, and the rest split between some of my family with a very simple cash sum to a specific charity.
If you say "everything (i.e. my 50%) to charity" your DH could be left in real difficulty and also charities are known to be very aggressive in pursuing their "share" so they would be fighting tooth and nail for your DH to have all sorts of stuff valued and he would have to be selling your things or making cash payments he couldn't afford.
If you died tomorrow I doubt that would be your desired aim?
I'd speak to a solicitor if I were you.
Hello, no, that's not the intention and sorry if I was misleading. First of all, stepkids are both at Uni so not really "children" any more. If I were to die first, husband would get everything and would not have to move and he would also receive my death in service benefit and pensions. I meant really, "when we both are dead" but of course need to factor in other scenarios e.g. if husband remarries and so on. I just read the other thread about if we were both to die together - much to think about and yes, definitely professional advice needed!
ladydede - my Mum has a DSM who's similar to you (no children of her own) She and my grandad both left their share of the house to each other in their wills, with the agreement that it would pass to his children when the second of them died. She has outlived him and will leave her other assets to friends and charities. I think that was quite a fair arrangement.
Unless you're both very old, i do think you need to think first of your spouse in a will, especially if they're living in a joint home with you.
As well as properly discussing with an expert how to plan your will, I would consider asking your parents to make wills leaving their estate directly to your child.
This could all be totally irrelevant if you/DH end up needing to go into care or nursing homes in your old age, the cost of which could easily eat up the value of your house. Currently happening with my DGM, she needs residential care now and we are having to sell her house to fund it. She is disappointed as wanted to leave her home to family, but there is just no choice in the matter.
I wouldn't count on any children getting anything at all! Seems silly to me to be counting on certain inheritance to pay mortgage, and your DH discussing with his 17yo son the future inheritance of this house.
It's important not to get too fixated on the possible but very unlikely event of you dying together. Focus your minds on what happens after one of you (more probably the man) dies and leaves everything to his wife - what happens next? Although of course nursing home fees might mean there is no inheritance, equally people do sometimes die suddenly. I'm sure the SMs on this thread would do the right thing but OTOH I've read many examples on here of children disinherited by SMs whose late DHs were sure would always do the right thing. They don't have to be actively wicked either - if the SM dies intestate or just doesn't get around to changing the will she made before her husband died then his DC will get nothing. Trusts and life interests are always the way to go if there's real money at stake.
Nursing home fees are easily avoided (well having to sell the house to pay them) by arranging family trusts well ahead of the event. The care cap also comes in next April.
I think it's cheeky of your dss to be commenting on inheritance though!
We did our wills earlier this year.
We split everything in two, my 50% goes to our DS, his 50% splits 1/3 each between his 3 children: our DS and DC from his first marriage.
My DSC will also likely be beneficiaries of their mother's will too so that evens things up quite a bit.
In my view, the split we agreed is the fair one.
(Should add, this was the eventual outcome, firstly it went to each other and currently we are relying on the other to not change it after the first death. We may put some of the house in trust as we get older to ensure the formula is not changed but we don't feel ready for that yet, especially since we envisage spending some our our equity in retirement so don't want to tie it all up in trusts)
I would want to know what exactly he was telling his 17 year old son about the house I had mostly paid for.
WTF does "nothing has changed with the house" mean?
A 17 year old should not have any notion of getting anything out of his father and stepmother's home.
But if everyone put their houses in trust wouldn't the government end up paying everyone's nursing home fees? That doesn't seem very sustainable given the ageing population and massive cost of care. Is this sort of loophole not likely to be closed in the future?
We have it that our house goes to the other paid of. I have a separate policy that will be split among my dd our joint dd and ss. I also have another policy that dh will benefit from directly.
We have both agreed that when the other dies and the spouse who inherits the house will then rewrite their will that it will be left equally among the children. It was my dh house that he paid the deposit on and now I pay the mortgage. So my ss technically would have inherited 100% of that prior to our marriage and further children. So that's why I have add him to paid out from my policy with my girls.
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