Parents of extended families that include step and adopted children are almost twice as likely as those with natural children to put off drawing up a will or revising its contents, according to a study by Investec Wealth & Investment.
“20% of parents with natural born sons and daughters have avoided creating or amending a will because they are unable to decide how to divide their assets amongst the family and many parents fear the outcome will upset their children. However this figure rises to 35% and 47% among parents with stepchildren and adopted children respectively.“
Although I am aware that writing a Will is a much overlooked part of the UK’s financial planning I was shocked to read the above statistics from Investec Wealth and Investment’s research. At Farsight Wills one of our core principles is that all those that have responsibility for minor children should look to make a Will and within that will set out provision for those that depend upon them.
With the many intricate family structures which are prevalent in today’s society it is imperative that a Will is set up to benefit those that relied on you when you were alive. The problem with a Will and general English law is that it runs very much on bloodlines, not taking into account the changes in family dynamics that have occurred with step-children, divorces, co-habiting, and the like.
Although not too difficult it is important that you receive professional advice when drawing up a Will. Complications can arise and a little time and money spent organising things now is a shrewd investment when compared to the cost and agony of your dependents having to legally contest the distribution.
A professionally drafted Will can also protect children’s inheritance if your partner was to re-marry. Consider the following;
Mr Smith dies and his widow, Mrs Smith inherits everything. She later re-marries Mr Jones. After a period of time Mrs Smith passes away. Mr Jones now inherits all Mr and Mrs Smith’s estate and leaves them to his family in his Will. Hence his family and not the family of Mr and Mrs Smith will inherit their assets when Mr Jones dies. The children and grand-children of Mr and Mrs Smith will receive nothing.
The above is certainly not what Mr and Mrs Smith would have wanted, but it can and does happen. It can however be so easily avoided with a well planned Will.
The majority of people seem to take an option which really shouldn’t be open to them. That is the option of doing nothing! As we point out on our website “If you do not have a Will then at possibly the most crucial time for your family there could be heartbreak, legal uncertainty, unnecessary expense and confusion.”