estate planning for second marriages

Around 40% of all weddings in the UK are second or subsequent marriages.  They present complex and potentially contentious Estate Planning challenges.  Often, one or both of the parties already has children by an earlier relationship. A major concern for those in a second marriage is deciding what children from that earlier relationship should receive on the death of their parent.   How can you balance the interests and needs of a second wife with children from an earlier relationship?    You may wish to ensure that your current partner is financially secure but seek to balance that concern with preservation of existing assets for your children from the earlier relationship. 


A number of possibilities used alone or together may assist in enabling you to find an  appropriate solution including :-

  • entering into a pre-nuptial agreement – a recent decision of the Supreme Court determined that such agreements can have “decisive or compelling weight”;
  • providing in your Will for your surviving partner to have a life interest in the home allowing them to live in the property after you are gone until they die (or re-marry if you wish) after which time it passes to your children thereby protecting their inheritance;
  • providing in your will for a Discretionary Trust giving your surviving partner income from your Estate and/or the use of specified assets until they die (or re-marry) after which time the Trust can continue for the benefit of your children or be ended with the remaining income and assets distributed to them.
  • making provision (outside the operation of your will) in relation to any pension fund to which you are entitled ensuring that such provision fits in with your overall Estate plan.