In a recent case, two stepsisters disputed which of their parents died first. Both parents, who were married, died together and it could not be determined who died first. In such a case, usually, the eldest of the couple is deemed to have died first, leaving everything to the younger spouse, therefore meaning that the estate will pass according to the younger spouse’s Will.
In a situation where two families have been brought together by marriage, where there are children from previous relationships, as in this case, the result can be that whole sides of families are cut out, causing hostility after the death of the parents. In this particular instance, the father did not have a Will and the mother’s Will did not leave any assets to her stepdaughter. As the mother was deemed to have died last, her stepdaughter received no inheritance and, in addition, was ordered to pay most of the other stepdaughter’s legal bills as well as her own.
There were many issues that attributed to this very difficult situation, including how their joint property was held, the fact that one of the parties did not have a Will and the existing Will neither accounted for this situation nor included all of the correct clauses required to prevent this from happening.
The importance of having a professional and well-written Will in place is only heightened when these types of situations arise. This is further intensified when families are combined from previous relationships or are made up of more complex dynamics than would be considered “the norm”. The urge to get a DIY Will or not to have a Will at all may be strong when you think that you may not be around to see if it works, but when we consider those we leave behind and how it may affect them, it really is worth paying the cost of drawing up a Will to make their lives easier.
Redwood is one of the Souths’ leading Pensions, Investments, Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning providers and we are dedicated to helping families to grow, protect and enjoy their wealth. With our unrivalled knowledge of Estate Planning and Probate, we can advise on any situation. Join us at one of our Free Public Information Seminars: Book online Book Me A Place!, Call us on 01489877 547 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a no-obligation Initial Meeting with us to review your financial planning needs.