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Wills in a second marriage - make a life interest trust

View profile for Claire Read
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This morning I spoke on BBC Essex radio about the problems that can arise when married couples who are in a second marriage create mirror wills leaving everything to each other.  

Often people do not fully understand that the surviving spouse can change their will at any time. In the case that was mentioned on the radio this morning, the adult child from the first marriage was excluded from benefiting because his step mother changed her will 10 years after his father's death. This is not an uncommon situation, time moves on and in some cases the step relationships become more distant, the surviving spouse no longer feels duty bound to leave anything to their step children and as such re write their will.  

This can be unfair and would not have been what the deceased parent would have wanted, but there is good news and a relatively simple solution, this is to use a special type of trust called a ‘life interest trust’. 

What is a Life Interest Trust? 

This type of trust is often used to protect the home so that the surviving spouse can remain in the home, rent free, but eventually it is guaranteed that the deceased' share will pass to the beneficiaries of their choosing (normally their children).  Using a trust is of course more complex than leaving everything to a spouse but it is the simplest form of trust and I feel it is well worth having a small amount of complexity to ensure the wishes are followed.  

For more information contact me or one of our 15 wills specialists that can give you or your family the advice needed.  To listen to the radio section. Click here