Sideways Disinheritance

Sideways Disinheritance – Explained

Steering Clear of Sideways Disinheritance: Ensuring Your Legacy Reaches the Right Hands

The concept of ‘sideways disinheritance’ is increasingly becoming a crucial consideration in estate planning. Imagine thinking that your loved ones will inherit and then poor planning means that unexpectedly, your wishes are derailed and your assets aren’t distributed upon your passing to loved ones at all… Essentially, Sideways Disinheritance happens when your assets, meant for your direct descendants, inadvertently end up benefiting individuals outside your direct lineage, typically due to remarriage. The ramifications of this are profound, potentially leaving those you intended to protect without their rightful inheritance. Recognising and addressing this issue is paramount for guaranteeing that your estate plan mirrors your true intentions. That’s where Just Wills and Legal Services come in.

Understanding Sideways Disinheritance

This issue predominantly emerges in situations involving blended families, where one has children from previous relationships. Upon your demise, if your surviving partner remarries without a solid estate plan in place, your assets might unjustly enrich the new partner and perhaps their descendants, sidelining your own children. This unintended outcome often stems from inadequate estate planning or lack of awareness about the issue. Our consultants are experts in addressing these concerns and listening to your wishes to ensure that your legal documents are both fit for purpose and mirror your wishes.

A quick scenario:

Consider this: you pass away, leaving everything to your partner, believing they will eventually pass it down to your children. Yet, if your partner remarries and either lacks a Will or revises their Will to favour their new spouse, your children could end up empty-handed. This complexity intensifies with multiple marriages, where family dynamics and asset distributions become more convoluted.

Similarly, ‘Mirror Wills’ among spouses, where each leaves everything to the other and then to their children, pose a risk. The surviving spouse might alter their Will post your death, potentially disinheriting your children entirely. Typically, where our expert team draft Mirror Wills, protection against sideways disinheritance will have been discussed and taken into consideration.

Mitigating the Risk of Sideways Disinheritance

To prevent such unfortunate outcomes, it’s essential to engage in proactive estate planning. Below are strategies to ensure your assets are safeguarded and reach your intended heirs:

1. Open Dialogue

Initiate candid discussions with your partner about estate planning, considering the possibility of future remarriages and their potential impact.

2. Seek Professional Guidance

Consulting a professional to draft your Will is critical. An expert consultant from Just Wills and Legal Services can offer bespoke advice, ensuring your estate plan encompasses all contingencies, including sideways disinheritance. Our team will visit you in the comfort of your own home at a time that is convenient for you.

3. Incorporate Trusts

Trusts are a useful tool to avert sideways disinheritance. They allow you to dictate the use and distribution of your assets, ensuring they benefit your desired beneficiaries. A ‘Life Interest Trust’ can provide for your spouse during their lifetime, with the core assets eventually going to your children or chosen beneficiaries.

Zooming In on Life Interest Trusts

A Life Interest Trust in your Will can stipulate that while your spouse benefits from your assets during their lifetime, the essential ownership of these assets is earmarked for your children or selected beneficiaries. This mechanism offers a safeguard against sideways disinheritance and protection from care home cost assessments, especially if you have equal shares in your home and want to protect your half, ensuring your assets are preserved for your direct descendants.

Sideways disinheritance is a significant, oft-ignored risk in estate planning, particularly for blended families. Without strategic planning, the legacy you wish to leave behind could inadvertently benefit others. By understanding this risk and adopting measures such as open communication, seeking expert advice, and strategic use of trusts, you can ensure your estate plan accurately reflects your wishes, thus securing your legacy and the well-being of your loved ones. If you have any questions, feel free to pick up the phone to our team.

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