If you have a blended family, it is particularly important to put a valid Will in place. Without this, some of your loved ones might miss out entirely on an inheritance and there is a risk of disputes arising when it is time to administer your estate.
What is a blended family?
A blended family is when one or both parties in a couple have children from a previous relationship. The couple are likely to live together and may have children together. The family will then have a mixture of children and stepchildren. The couple might marry or they could be unmarried.
What happens if you don’t have a Will and you have a blended family?
If you do not leave a Will, then your estate will pass under the Rules of Intestacy. This is also the case if you marry, as marriage makes any existing Will invalid unless it was made in contemplation of the marriage.
If your estate passes under the Rules of Intestacy, then there is a risk that some family members might not receive what you wanted them to have. The Rules set out who will inherit in order of priority, starting with your spouse and children.
For example, if you are married with children, then your spouse will inherit the first £250,000 of your estate plus all of your personal possessions. The remainder of your estate will be split into two. Your spouse will inherit one half and your children will share the other half. This means that your children may well inherit much less than your spouse.
Under the Rules of Intestacy, unmarried partners and stepchildren do not receive anything.
The sideways disinheritance trap
If you have children from a previous relationship, there is a risk that they could inadvertently be disinherited if the right Will is not put in place.
By way of example, if you and your new spouse or partner agreed to leave everything to each other and then, on the death of the second of you to die, to your children, they might not inherit anything when the time comes.
If you were to die first, it is open to your spouse or partner to make a new Will leaving all of their assets to someone else. Alternatively, if they were to remarry, their previous Will would become invalid and their heirs would be their spouse and their own children.
There is also a risk that they could lose the money you left to them through a bad investment or in paying for care home fees.
Wills for blended families
To avoid the sideways disinheritance trap and ensure that all of your loved ones are looked after in the way that you want, you can make a Will that covers any potential difficulties.
You can leave your spouse a life interest in any shared property or other assets. This means that they can use them during their lifetime, continuing to live in the home you shared for as long as they want.
Ultimately, when they die, the assets that belonged to you would pass to your choice of beneficiary, which could be your own children.
Professional Will and inheritance planning
At Quinn Legal we can discuss your family situation with you and give you our recommendations for a Will that protects and provides for your family in the way that you want. Our team have extensive expertise in dealing with a wide range of situations, including complex blended and step-family relationships. We offer a range of Wills packages, to include an online Wills service. This means that you do not have to come into our offices and the whole process can be dealt with remotely, if this is easier for you.
Contact our Isle of Man Wills advocates
If you would like to speak to one of our expert Wills lawyers in the Isle of Man, call us on 01624 665522 or email us: email@example.com. Alternatively, you can fill out our online questionnaire and we will contact you.
Patrick is the Head of Wills & Administration at Quinn Legal
Click his photo below to find out more!