Q: My fiancé and I both have grown up children who are currently sole beneficiaries of our respective Wills. We are both financially independent and wish to continue to keep our estates separate when we marry so that our children will retain their due inheritance. We each own a mortgage-free property and plan to rent out one and live in the other, so if anything happens to one of us the other can continue living where we were before. We have opened a joint bank account into which we will each put an equal amount for living costs. If we keep everything separate, is there any need to make new Wills?
A: Irrespective of your off-spring, you should both make new Wills when you marry, as under English and Welsh law any pre-existing Wills are automatically revoked on marriage. Without new Wills you would die intestate and the state would dictate what happens to your assets.
Whilst you may both be financially secure and in good health now, circumstances can change, so you might wish to look at making provision for one another for your lifetimes after one of you dies. Including a Life Interest Trust in your Wills would enable you to offer one another the security of having the right to receive the income generated by your joint cash assets and/or the right to remain in the marital home during your lifetimes.
You would still be able to control the ultimate destination of your capital assets and effectively ring fence the funds and assets held within the Life Interest Trust ultimately for your own children. It also means that if your wife were to remarry after your death, she would not be able to give away the assets in the Life Interest Trust as she would not legally own the capital or property, providing additional security for your children.
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