Wills for Couples in a Second Marriage

Couples in a second or subsequent marriage, perhaps with children from a previous marriage, often find it slightly embarrassing to discuss the subject of Wills with their spouse. This is potentially disastrous as it often means no decisions are made.

The reason they’re wary of discussing the subject is usually because they want to ensure their assets eventually pass to their own children or family when the survivor of them dies, and don’t want to give the impression that their spouse can’t be trusted to ensure that happens.

If you make a Will leaving much of what you own to your children or other members of your family on your death, and you then die before your husband or wife, it may leave your surviving spouse in financial difficulties.

It may also give rise to an inheritance tax bill that could have been avoided and, perhaps worse still, it may lead to your surviving spouse going to Court to make an application under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act for a share, or larger share, of all you’ve left. This is an expensive exercise and the legal costs will usually come from your estate.

But if you leave most or all you have to your spouse if you die before him or her, then of course there is no guarantee that it will go to your children or family on their death. No matter how well your spouse currently gets on with your children, things can change over the years.

But don’t despair. We can advise how it is possible to have Wills drawn up which address all those concerns and worries which are felt by clients in this situation. With the changes in family make-up which increasingly exist these days, these are becoming the most requested types of Will we offer.


Well, these Wills ensure that no inheritance tax is payable on first death and, in certain circumstances, can reduce or even eliminate the potential inheritance tax liability on second death.

Wills can be drafted by us in such a way that the surviving spouse is able to live in the matrimonial home even if it had been owned by the first spouse to die.

And they can receive the interest and income from all savings and assets owned by their late spouse.

If they have greater financial needs, the Trustees can even transfer any lump sums they might need.

However, the surviving spouse does not own outright the matrimonial home or any of those assets that formerly belonged to their spouse on which they are only receiving income. This means that the capital value of these assets would be disregarded in any assessment for care fees, and on their eventual death the assets all pass to the children, (or whoever they have named in their Will) of the first spouse to die.

If any of the assets are no longer needed by the surviving spouse (perhaps because they have gone to live with a child of their own, have moved abroad or have gone into care) then the Trustees can transfer these assets to the children or beneficiaries of the first spouse to die.

Then, if the surviving spouse is still alive seven years later, those assets will have passed to the children free of inheritance tax.

As will be appreciated, these kinds of Wills are rather complex to prepare and need careful explanation, but are perhaps the most flexible wills which can be drafted, and are more and more often the best solution.

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