Fear of divorce puts parents off leaving inheritance to married children

Mon 16th Jan 2017

Research suggests parents are reluctant to leave an inheritance to their married children through fear of divorce. Sarah Cornish comments.

“The latest statistics suggest that 42 per cent of marriages in England and Wales will end in divorce. Perhaps it should therefore be no surprise that many people think twice about writing their married children into their inheritance.

“Recent research from Investec Investment and Wealth indicates that close to a third of parents are not willing to offer inheritance or financial aid to their married offspring, citing the risk of divorce as the reason. In a survey of 1,000 parents, 12% had children had already parted from a spouse and a further 14% said they had little or no confidence that their children’s marriage would last.

“At Coodes we see a number of clients who are concerned about what will happen to their Wills if their children separate or divorce. Would an ex-spouse end up with half of the inheritance that was intended for a son or daughter? Understandably many people fear that their money may end up going outside the family. If this is a concern, we often recommend that they consider a Discretionary Trust.

“A Discretionary Trust puts the responsibility of overseeing your wishes into the hands of your trustees. The Will would provide for a class of beneficiaries and your trustees can decide when (if at all) anyone will benefit from the estate and by how much. In this way, gifts can be made at the most opportune time. It is therefore crucial that you have confidence in the people you are naming as trustees.

“Unfortunately, it is still possible for the divorce courts to take assets held in a trust into consideration. However, a trust does give you some control over what happens to your inheritance. Getting the right advice to draw up a Discretionary Trust and having the right people to act as trustees will give you the best chance of having your wishes met.”

For advice on writing a will or tax or inheritance planning please contact Sarah Cornish at Coodes Solicitors on 0800 328 3282 or info@coodes.co.uk

Mon 16th Jan 2017

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