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What do you do about wills?

(29 Posts)
Listmaker Thu 07-Jul-05 12:04:40

Was just wondering what you step-mums have done about wills etc? I am about to get together properly (i.e. move in together and eventually marry I hope) with my bf and we both have kids already.

What should I do in my will? I am thinking to save hassle that I should just leave everything to him and trust him to sort things out from there should I snuff it! But is that wise? I mean he could marry again and everything would go to her or not make a will again and everything go to his dds and mine would totally miss out. I do trust him totally to do the right thing but wondered what you thought/did?

I think if we have a house in joint names it goes to the other person anyway so he'd have the house and probably my dds would stay with him too as their real father has nothing to do with them and my parents are too old so he would need my money to help look after them.

I hope he'll trust me the same way although other than the house he wouldn't have as much as me to leave perhaps. Maybe if I didn't have his girls if he died then the money/life insurance should go to them as they would then have their mum to look after them.

Sorry just thinking aloud really. Any experience anyone??

lilibet Thu 07-Jul-05 12:07:58

I'm leaving everything my my dh who is my children's step dad. If I didn't trust him to do what was alwasy the best for the children I wouldn't be with him.

and I have recently promised to endow him with all my wordly goods!!

Freckle Thu 07-Jul-05 12:09:54

Best thing to do is to talk it through with an experienced probate solicitor. They have a duty in any event to ensure that you consider all angles and that, by leaving everything to your new spouse, you don't inadvertently disinherit your children.

They will be able to tell you what is possible, what will leave the least hassle for those left behind, etc. It might be an idea to have an appointment which you both (i.e. you and b/f) attend to ensure that you are "synchronised".

SadSam Thu 07-Jul-05 12:46:09

I have been looking into this recently and have established from a couple of wills websites that if we do not do wills then if DP dies anything over £110k of the value of the house goes to his children, even though the mortgage is in joint names. i.e. if he dies I will have to sell the house to give about £80k to his children. If I dont do this then his children (and their mother as they are under 16) are quite legally allowed to "move in" to my property!

Without a will any of DPs items/belongings becomes the property of his children just as if I die all my belongings would go to my parents (next blood relatives as I dont have any children). I think that it is very important to get wills done. I have been very lax with this as at the moment I still have a will with my ex boyfriend so if I die then he will be entitled to half of the value of the property should I die and my DP will have to sell up to pay him!

tarantula Thu 07-Jul-05 12:51:00

OMG I didnt know that Sam THink Ill have to get dp to make a will ASAP as our house is in joint names. I was told when we signed that the house goes into hte name of the other person automatically

Freckle Thu 07-Jul-05 12:55:10

Depends on how you hold the property. Whether you are tenants in common or joint tenants (please note that the word "tenant" has nothing to do with rented property). If you are registered at the Land Registry as joint tenants, then when one of you dies the property will automatically pass to the other and never forms part of the deceased's estate (so no other relatives will have a claim against it). If you are registered as tenants in common, then you will either hold the property in equal shares, with the ability to leave your particular share to whomever you wish, or in unequal shares (which would be documented), but still with the ability to leave your share in your will.

Listmaker Thu 07-Jul-05 12:56:05

I've just had a very quick search on the net and it seems to state that houses in JOINT names just go to the other person and are outside the scope of a will. You can be tenants in common and then you can leave you half to whoever you like.

I'm relying on my ex dying first and our house becoming mine rather than have to pay that useless b*stard a penny!

And Lilibet I do totally trust my dp and know he would do the right thing which is why I'm going to make him sole benificiary when we move in together.

Listmaker Thu 07-Jul-05 12:56:50

Snap Freckle

Caligula Thu 07-Jul-05 13:31:53

I think if you care what happens to your money after you die, then you must make a proper will which accounts for unlikely eventualities. What if you died, he re-married, and then he died, all in the space of about 2 years? Unlikely, but it can happen, and wills are about planning for unlikely situations. What would happen to your children in that extremely unlikely scenario? Who would be their legal guardian? What money would they legally be entitled to inherit? I think it's very important to think of these things.

Listmaker Thu 07-Jul-05 13:40:02

I agree Caligula - the problem is you turn yourself in knots with what ifs etc!! I suppose I would have to hope he would choose someone who'd be good to my dds (and that my parents would be still around to keep an eye on things!) and that he would use the money he would get to support them and invest the rest for them. I think he would although he is so damned nice he might get taken in by some real bitch who steals all my dds' money...............aaarrggh - see you can drive yourself nuts!!

Caligula Thu 07-Jul-05 13:48:20

Exactly Listmaker!

Some of the wills made by Victorian's are hilarious - they plan down to about the 7th generation, with all sorts of permetations - if the grandson changes religion, then he should be disinherited, etc.

But I think you can plan for basic stuff. Like what if you and DH died at the same time (in a car crash, for example) - who would be your children's guardian?

Hulababy Thu 07-Jul-05 21:29:22

Best thing to do is to speak to a qualified and experiences solicitor, who specialises in wills, etc and they will sort this out. They will tell you all the things to consider, and how to go about them. Thing it is definitely one of those situations where it is worth getting a speciailist in to help you.

SadSam Fri 08-Jul-05 11:12:07

Im confused Ive seen a couple of websites that say what you are all say but then Ive also seen some that say different!

http://www.wills.co.uk/SS/Willfacts.htm

This website says that despite contrary belief a spouse (married partner) does not necessarily inherit everything, some of the value of the estate goes to DHs blood relatives i.e. children, parents and with the rise in house values, blood relatives could inherit more of the value of the estate than you would get!

It also implies that you are much better off if you get married as "common law wives" are not taken into account and your DP would be classed as single! Can anyone else spread anymore light on this as Im confused and am getting a little worried!

Hulababy Fri 08-Jul-05 11:13:25

I can ask DH tonight if you like. He is at work till later though.

SadSam Fri 08-Jul-05 11:36:23

Ok thanks Hulababy Id appreciate that. Im getting a little worried. Although DP and I have a joint mortgage I am concerned that if god forbid anything were to happen to him (he is diabetic and works in the forces so is high risk) then I wouldnt be entitled to anything. Although I would want his kids to be well looked after, I wouldnt want to be homeless or have BM benefit in any way!

Caligula Fri 08-Jul-05 11:37:34

I think the basic rule has got to be, if you have any money at all, you ought to have a will and you ought to have it drawn up by a solicitor, especially if there are children and/or exes and/or non-married partners. Wills aren't just about money - they're about the guardianship of your children as well. And if you have children, then it really is worth paying the £100 or whatever it is, to get it done properly - as Hula says, a solicitor will talk you through the different permetations. WHSmith draw your own, won't do, imo!

(My solicitor was a bit gobsmacked by my will, she said it's more complicated than most she deals with - but that's only because I've thought through a few basic scenarios!)

Hulababy Fri 08-Jul-05 11:39:28

Yes to reiterate do Do NOT use a DIY will or one of those will writing companies. Pay an expert!

Listmaker Fri 08-Jul-05 11:40:41

I will definitely be getting done at a solicitors as, as you say, it's not straight forward!! But wanted to go with a fair idea of what I want. Have been through all this with my exp who had kids from his previous marriage.

expatinscotland Fri 08-Jul-05 12:02:08

See a probate solicitor for the best advice. Leaving it all to your DH could lead to trouble if he is not your children's biological parent or designated guardian.

It has nothing to do with trust, it has everything to do with how the law is set up to deal w/estates, especially if you and your spouse should die together. Or if your children's bioligical parent dies soon after you.

I'm happily married and still made a will using a solicitor.

Listmaker Fri 08-Jul-05 12:16:14

I know it has to be well thought out and I have done/am doing. I think my dp would be the best guardian for my dds once we live together and he is willing to be that for them. So therefore I would leave everything to him to look after them.

But what if he died a couple of weeks after me without having changed his will?! If he had left everything to me as well and I was dead then it would go to his dds wouldn't it??! Aaarrgggghhh! Surely in that case it could be contested on my dds behalf as that would be blatently unfair!

I'll tell him that if I die and he doesn't re-do his will asap to put my dds in then I'll come back to haunt him good and proper!

I'm also secretly hoping he'll adopt my dds which would make things more secure for them.

Oh it's so complicated!

My friend has a 2dds with 2 different fathers and lives with the second one still - never married. She still hasn't made her will after 4 years talking about it because she can't decide what to do - now that is foolish!!

I may not have all the answers but at least I know I will do it. I don't want to leave any mess behind! I've made a note of all my accounts and savings etc so it'll be easy to sort out!

Caligula Fri 08-Jul-05 12:23:05

Listmaker you're so right. You just have to bite the bullet and do it, even if you're not sure what would happen - your friend is mad to just leave it. Dying intestate is one of the biggest disservices you can do to your loved ones. Wills can be contested, but who wants to put their relatives through that when they're grieving?

What I did, was think up a few scenarios and ask the solicitor what would happen if this happened, etc., and how practical it is to plan for xy and z. So by the time I had the meeting with her to draw up the will, I had a clear idea of what needed to be covered.

okapi Fri 08-Jul-05 13:03:25

Listmaker - you can put your money into a trust for your children, with dp as a trustee, you can also specify in your will a 'what if scenario' so that if dp dies withinn a certain period, different intructions will apply - -a solicitor will advise you on how to do this.

We did loads of 'what if' scenarios on our will

macwoozy Fri 08-Jul-05 13:13:37

I was led to believe that if you have a joint mortgage with your dp, your dp's children (up to the age of 16) are entitled to X amount of money from his estate. Its not possible to exclude his children, will or no will.

Listmaker Fri 08-Jul-05 13:25:04

Thinking about it Okapi I think I might do that initially at least. If the house is in joint names it would go to him (it would be bought with his money anyway so that seems fair enough) and I could leave the money in trust for my dds with him as trustee with my brother or something.

Then if in a year or two we get married we'd have to re-do things anyway and he might offer to adopt my dds and then I'd just leave everything to him.

To be honest he's got more cause to worry than me. If we invest nearly all his money in a house and he doesn't have as much life cover etc as me so most of his money (via the house) would come to me. I think he would need a some clause in there to say I would need to then adjust my will to leave the house between all 5 dds and give me a time period to do that or something.

I still have a house but in joint names with my ex so it would go to him although maybe that could be contested as he's buggered off without paying a penny towards it in the last 4 years. Then again maybe he's actually remember he had 2 dds with me when he wrote a will!

SadSam Fri 08-Jul-05 13:33:50

Macwoozy, that was exactly what I was lead to believe, reading several websites about wills. That is why I am so confused!

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