Q&A - How can I protect my children’s inheritance but ensure my husband is not left homeless?

26/12/2016

Q: Both myself and my husband are in our 50s. I have two children from my first marriage but my husband has none. Our house is in my name alone and we have made Wills leaving everything to each other when the first of us dies, then to my children when the second passes away.

Unfortunately my children don’t get along with my husband and I am concerned about what will happen if I pass away or if he re-marries or changes his Will. Is there a way I can stop him from doing so and make sure my children receive their inheritance from me? At the same time, I don’t want my husband to be homeless by leaving the house to my children. What should I do?

A: First of all, whilst a person has capacity to make a Will they are free to change it at any point for the rest of their life; therefore there is no way to prevent your husband from changing his Will in the future. In addition, if he does re-marry his existing Will automatically becomes invalid.

With respect to your own Will, my advice would be to prepare a new Will establishing a “Life Interest Trust” over your property in favour of your husband. If you pass away first this would allow him to carry on living in the property for the rest of his life, subject to certain requirements such as paying all outgoings as well as keeping the property maintained and insured. As the property remains in the trust, rather than passing to your husband, when he passes away or leaves the property it can then pass to your children and not under his estate.

As an aside, given the potential for dispute between your husband and children, you may wish to instruct professional executors to act for your estate.

Victoria Wilson

Victoria Wilson

Partner

A Partner and Part of our Probate, Wills, Trusts and Tax team in Oswestry