Case Studies

Accidental Disinheritance

What is Accidental Disinheritance?

Steve and Sue with normal Wills

Steve and Sue are both in their 30’s and each have a Will that leaves everything to each other, and on second death, leaves everything to their two young children, Jake and Chloe, in equal shares.

Steve dies aged 36 in 1994 after a very short illness, leaving Sue and their two children to carry on.

Sue was young enough to consider a new relationship and in 1998 she started seeing Ray, who was divorced with 2 children of his own. Ray lived in rented accommodation and moved in with Sue, Jake and Chloe after a few months together.

They got married in 2001 and although Ray was fond of his two step-children Jake and Chloe, he always favoured his own children over his step-children.

Everything was fine until Sue was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and she died in the summer of 2017.

Sue did not realise that once she got married her old Will became invalid, so she never thought about making a new Will.

As such, Sue died without a valid Will and her estate was distributed in accordance with intestacy rules which resulted in up to £250,000 going outright to Ray as her husband and anything above that being shared between her husband and her children.

As Sues’ estate was less than £250,000 then her two children, Jake and Chloe, received nothing from either their Dad’s or Mum’s estate.

Steve and Sue with Protective Property Wills

Instead of having normal Mirror Wills Steve and Sue each have a Will that gifts their 50% share of the family home into a Protective Trust and what’s left apart from the family home is left to each other, and on second death, everything is left to their two young children, Jake and Chloe, in equal shares.

After Steve passed away the Protective Property Trust in his Will gives Sue a legal right to live in the family home (50% of which is owned by the Trust and Sue owns the other 50%) for as long as she wants to, after which Jake and Chloe will inherit 50% of the family home from Steve’s Trust and when Sue passes away they will receive the other 50% from Sue.

If Sue forgot the create a new Will after she re-married her children would still inherit Steve’s 50% share of the family home after Sue passed away, but the other 50% would go to Ray under intestacy rules.

Had Sue also reviewed her Will after she got married then she could have created a new Will where she could decide how much of her estate should go to her new husband Ray and how much should go to her two children.

It's important that you ensure you have an up to date Will, remember if you re-marry your old Will become invaild. Talk to an adviser today to learn more about the benefits of creating a Will.

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