Blended Families

Blended Families

Blended families

New relationship? Children from a previous relationship?

 

If, like me and millions of other families in this 21st century you are in a relationship and have children from a previous relationship, you may be wondering how you can provide for your new partner and also ensure that your children inherit a share of your estate. The solution to this problem is really fairly straightforward.

 

Often, many couples will have invested in joint ventures together and combined funds to buy a new house or have joint savings accounts, possibly even having made financial investments or second properties. It would be reasonable to wish for this to continue after you have died and for your partner to continue to enjoy the assets that you acquired together. However, you may have wondered how to ensure that your share of these assets will go to your children when your partner has either passed or in some circumstances, if your partner remarries. Ultimately, you would wish for your assets to be passed to your children and equally, if there are no children involved, to your friends/ chosen charity / family.

 

Life Interest Trusts or Property Trusts are a very common solution to this problem. In setting up a trust such as this in your will, which will only take effect after you have died, you have the choice and flexibility to ensure everyone’s interests are protected.

 

Here is an example of how such a trust would work:
Claire and Dan have been married for 4 years and live together in a house that they purchased jointly. On the advice of their conveyancing solicitors, they own the property as joint tenants. Claire has two children from a previous relationship and Dan has one child.

 

Claire and Dan decide to split the ownership of their property into two equal shares of 50% each. They decide to place their share of their home in a flexible life interest trust which will be drafted in their Will. The survivor will be the ‘life tenant’ of the trust assets and their child will be the ultimate beneficiary. It will mean that when the first of them dies:

  • The survivor can continue to live in the property for the rest of their life.
  • The survivor can move home if they wish/ downsize or use the deceased share of the property to contribute towards an upsize in property.
  • The survivor could move out of the house and benefit from any rental income generated.
  • Their children’s or child’s share of the property is safeguarded and cannot be left to somebody else if the survivor changes their Will.
  • Nothing changes about the way the home is owned whilst they are both alive.
  • When the survivor dies, the trust ends and the child inherits their share of the home outright.

 

The terms of the trust are very flexible and you choose how you wish the trust to be administered – for example, it could end if your partner remarries or it could allow for capital to be forwarded to the life tenant. It is important to note that other assets and investments can be included in the trust, not just your home.

 

If you need any advice on estate planning with a blended family, or know someone who may need advice, please feel free to contact me on 0800 610 1131.

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