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Life Interest Wills

This article appeared in the Mercury newspaper on 19th May 2010.

Solicitor Katy Burgin talks about how you can protect children from a previous marriage as well as your current partner by using a Life Interest Will..


I am remarried after a divorce. How can I ensure that my children from my first marriage inherit their share of my estate, without penalising my current spouse?

If you have remarried following bereavement or divorce, and have children from a previous marriage, it is posswills adviceible to ensure the financial security of your current spouse whilst still protecting your children’s inheritance by making a ‘life interest will’.

You may wish to ensure that your current partner is financially secure should you die first, but you feel it is only right that your children from your previous marriage should inherit your assets, particularly if the main asset is the family home which may have been substantially paid for during the previous marriage.

With a standard Will, if you leave everything to your new partner your assets would become theirs. When they die those assets would then be passed to their beneficiaries, who may be their own children, thus depriving your children of any inheritance.

With a ‘Life interest Will’ it is possible to avoid this situation. The family home is a perfect example. You may wish to leave this to your children eventually, but still enable your current partner to live in it after you have died. It is possible to give your partner a life interest in the property, which means that after you die they can live in the property until they die (or remarry if you wish), at which point it passes to your beneficiaries.

In this way you can protect both your partner and eventual beneficiaries.

What are mirror Wills?

Mirror Wills is the term applied to almost identical Wills made by a husband and wife. It relates to when both parties have the same Will but in reverse, for example, they leave everything to the other partner and thereafter to the children.

The surviving partner is usually the executor, although it is important to add an additional executor in case both partners were to die at the same time.

For couples it is not possible to have a joint Will. Each person must have their own Will, although the cost of making mirror Wills is usually less than the cost of making 2 Wills independently.

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