Losing Your Inheritance Through a Step-Parent
What if your father fully intended to provide for you, and had even made his wishes clear in a witnessed agreement and legally witnessed Will, and he died believing he had done his best for you – and then that inheritance could be taken away from you?
What if this stripping of your inheritance was perfectly legal?
It seems impossible, doesn’t it?
But this is exactly what seems to have happened to Paul Daniels Junior, the son of the magician, Paul Daniels, who sadly died of a brain tumour in March 2016.
According to an article in The Sun (16th October 2016) Paul Daniels’ second wife, Debby McGee, inherited the magician’s entire £1.5 million estate after promising ‘to look after Paul Daniel’s three sons’ from a previous marriage.
According to the article, the sons have received nothing.
Whatever the ins and outs of this sad story, it is relatively simple to make sure that this does not happen to your own children in the event of the remarriage of a surviving spouse or their change of mind about agreements on the disposal of your estate.
So what would be Just Wills and Legal Service’s advice in a similar situation?
If you remarry and want to protect your estate, or a portion of it, for your children from a previous relationship, we would advise you to set up a Trust. A properly formed Trust can provide for your spouse after your death, while safeguarding your children’s or grandchildren’s inheritance.
For example, you can form a Trust that will take effect after your death which allows your spouse to benefit from your estate during their lifetime (i.e., continue to live in the same house; access interest on capital), but on your spouse’s death the estate will pass to your children and/or grandchildren and cannot be willed elsewhere.
If you or your spouse has children from a previous marriage or relationship and you have not made Wills, or are relying on simple mirror Wills, then you may want to speak to one of our experts as soon as possible, to protect your children’s inheritance.
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